Kyle Busch’s horrible luck at Kansas Speedway continued during this morning’s Sprint Cup practice session, as his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota hit the wall.
He qualified 18th yesterday for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 but today’s wreck forced his team to bring out a backup car, meaning that he’ll have to start from the rear of the field for the race.
It’s a critical setback for “Rowdy,” who goes into this weekend third in the Chase for the Sprint Cup – trailing JGR teammate and championship leader Matt Kenseth by 12 points.
Additionally, his older brother and fellow Chaser, Kurt Busch, also found the wall during the morning practice. Kurt will have to go to a backup for Sunday, too; this causes him to abandon a 19th-place starting position.
Kyle was able to return in his backup No. 18 for the latter portions of the session, which also saw Kenseth spin out to trigger a late yellow. However, he escaped without damage sustained to his No. 20 JGR Toyota.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led the practice with a lap of 186.027 miles per hour. He qualified second yesterday, narrowly missing out on the pole won by Kevin Harvick.
SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.
SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.
Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.
The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.
SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.
Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.