UPDATED: Chase contender Kyle Busch back on track after Lap 102 crash (VIDEO)

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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.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.