2 weeks later, Kyle Busch still deflated by Chase elimination

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Kyle Busch’s seventh NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory of 2014 could only do so much to ease the pain.

After winning last night at Texas Motor Speedway in the Trucks, Busch revealed that he’s still saddened over his elimination from the Chase for the Sprint Cup two weeks ago at Talladega Superspeedway.

And whether you like him or not, you can’t blame him for being deflated.

Busch has had to deal with a reputation for fading during NASCAR’s post-season stretch, but he entered ‘Dega on the strength of five consecutive Top-10 finishes.

Then, in the Contender Round finale, he was collected in a crash after the midway point and finished 40th – which caused him to fail to make the ongoing Eliminator Round by seven points.

Going into ‘Dega, he was above the cutoff by a sizable margin of 26 points.

“Nothing softens the disappointment,” Busch said to reporters last night after his victory in the Winstar World Casino and Resort 350. “It’s disheartening, it’s heartbreaking.

“You pour every single season into the Chase, and to get eliminated the way we did is very unfortunate. There’s no other way to put it, quite frankly.”

Even more galling for Busch was the fact that he was riding along at the back of the field in order to avoid such an accident. But when the mayhem ensued ahead of him on the ‘Dega backstretch, Busch was hit from behind by Austin Dillon and sent careening into the inside wall.

“Being back where I was, kind of minding my own business and trying to be away from all that, I was the only Chase guy (that) crashed,” he said about his strategy. “Whether I came down or not, I don’t know how you don’t see me in front of you and miss me from behind. But it is what it is.”

Busch was in the middle of putting together perhaps his best string of results ever in the Chase. But once again, he was bitten by bad luck – something that he appears to have gotten used to around this time of year.

“That seems to be my every single year, so mark it down as Talladega or Martinsville or Kansas where I tend to get crashed in the Chase and knock ourselves out,” he said. “I guess until they get rid of those racetracks in the final 10, I’m doomed.”

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.