Pit road tangle ruins Charlotte race for both Kyles-Busch and Larson

Kyle Larson was running second, and Kyle Busch third, approaching pit road after NASCAR called the eighth caution of Sunday's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway because of fluid on the track. Busch feinted toward pit road, as he often does in similar situations. But as Busch steered his #18 Toyota to the right of the commitment cone at the entrance to pit road, Larson suddenly turned his #42 Chevy into Busch's path. Busch's car sustained minor damage, and Larson's spun on pit road, but both drivers drew commitment line violations that would send them to the back of the field for the subsequent restart on Lap 201 of 334. Neither driver recovered from the incident, as their winning chances disappeared with the contact. Busch subsequently slid in oil in the high groove and further hurt his car during contact with the outside wall.

"We stayed out there on that caution and Kyle faked like he was coming, and the 42 (Larson) in front of us, he was on the opposite end of the commitment cone and there was no way he was going to make it," Busch's crew chief, Adam Stevens, said after the race. He (Larson) panicked. I don't know what happened there, but them two came together. Then we were behind the eight ball at that point, but still going to have a good day, and the track had a little bit of oil on it, didn't get cleaned up as well-which a lot of people were talking about on the radio. Kyle slipped in it and fenced it, and that's what really did us in."

Larson said he got contradictory instructions on his radio. "They told me to do what everybody around me was doing, and the #22 (race winner Joey Logano) was staying out, so I was committed to staying out," Larson said. "And as soon as I turned right to stay out they said 'Pit, pit, pit.'
"I hung a left and Kyle (Busch) was there. I feel really terrible to ruin their day, and hopefully it didn't hurt their chances of transferring through this round (of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup). I know they deserved a top-three finish for sure. I felt awful immediately and still do. I hate it."

Busch salvaged a 20th-place finish, but he's 10 points out of eighth place, the position that will transfer from the Chase's Contender Round to the Eliminator Round. "Just can't say enough about my guys – all the work that they put into these things," Busch said. "They don't deserve to be put in these situations year in, year out, but we are for some reason. But it's tough, and we're going to have to battle through with what we've got right now. I can't say enough about what they did on pit road getting us back salvageable." NASCAR Wire Service

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