UPDATED (4:47 p.m. ET): Almost 50 laps after he crashed heavily in a multi-car incident, Kyle Busch has returned to the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, desperately trying to stay in the Chase.
On Lap 102, contact between Aric Almirola and J.J. Yeley sent the latter spinning on the backstretch. The melee eventually found its way to Busch, who was riding in the back to avoid such chaos but was hit from behind by Austin Dillon and sent sliding hard into the inside wall with A.J. Allmendinger.
As you’d expect, Busch did not take it too well.
Busch entered today’s race up 26 points behind the cutoff, best among the Chasers that had not advanced to the Eliminator Round with a victory.
Now, the No. 18 team is frantically trying to repair what damage they can and get Busch back out on the track. As of this point, Busch has fallen outside of the Top 8 that will secure Eliminator spots this afternoon.
“It was really hurt,” said team owner Joe Gibbs to ESPN as the repairs continued. “We had rear-end damage, we got hit from behind…the whole front fascia was gone. Our guys have done a great job, but we had to replace a lot of the front end.”
Eventually, Busch returned to the track with 37 laps to go and at 49 laps off the pace. At the time, he was narrowly holding on to the eighth and final Chase advance spot by a mere four points.
Also involved in the wreck were Tony Stewart and Alex Bowman.