Another disappointing day for Kyle Busch at Kansas

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Some tracks fit well for certain drivers. Conversely, some tracks do not fit well. For Kyle Busch, Kansas Speedway is definitely in the latter category.

Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas was a critical one for Busch going in, as he had struggled mightily at the 1.5-mile oval throughout his Sprint Cup career. Unfortunately for him, he encountered calamity once again in the Heartland, crashing out of the race late.

Before Sunday, Busch was in third place in the Chase for the Sprint Cup at 12 points behind Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth. But now, as NASCAR heads for home ground next weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Rowdy One sits fifth in the standings at 35 points back of Kenseth.

“We’ll just have to work hard,” Busch said about his title hopes from here on in. “We’ll just have to keep doing what we’ve done and getting us to this point all year long and that’s been consistency.

“And every other track except Kansas seems to be able to bode well for us, so we’ll see what happens and if it doesn’t happen — then it doesn’t happen. It wasn’t meant to be.”

Like Kenseth, Busch struggled mightily with both track conditions and Goodyear’s zone tire on Sunday. Prior to wrecking out, Busch had been involved in two other incidents; he was able to dodge a spinning Danica Patrick on the opening lap and was then spun out himself by Juan Pablo Montoya on Lap 186.

He came out of both of those matters unscathed, but on Lap 199, contact with Carl Edwards sent Busch into the Turn 2 wall. Unable to continue, Busch was forced to swallow a 34th-place result.

Now, Busch will likely have to be perfect – forget about being close to it- over the final six Chase races to have a chance at winning the Cup.

Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.