Las Vegas Review-Journal
One Busch in, one out of playoffs
Cup Series heads to Las Vegas this week
And then there were 12. Only one is a Busch brother.
The NASCAR drivers still eligible for the 2021 Cup Series championship beginning with Sunday’s South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was set at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday night.
Two-time champion Kyle Busch of Las Vegas raced his way into the Round of 12 despite a late flat tire that knocked him down to 21st in the finishing order.
Older brother Kurt, who won the 2004 title and last year’s South Point 400, raced his way out of contention by finishing 19th. Unlike his brother, Kurt Busch started the last of three races in the opening playoff round on the points cutoff line and was one of four drivers eliminated.
“That was not a championship-type effort,” said Kurt Busch, who joined Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola and this year’s Daytona 500 winner Michael Mcdowell in being knocked out.
Kyle Larson, who won spring’s Pennzoil 400 at LVMS, also won at Bristol in an exciting duel that featured late-race and postrace get-togethers involving pacesetters Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott. Both drivers joined Larson in qualifying for the Round of 12.
Others still championship-eligible are Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, William Byron, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Christopher Bell.
There will be no practice or qualifying runs for the South Point 400, with the lineup set by NASCAR’S qualifying formula. Temperatures in the high 90s with only a slight chance of rain are expected for the first race at LVMS without spectator restrictions since the onset of COVID.
Masks will be required of those watching in enclosed areas except when they are eating and drinking.