By: Pete Pistone – @PPistone | MRN.com on October 15, 2017 | 8:16 P.M. EST
Several playoff contenders were taken in out in multi-car crashes Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo: Getty Images)
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff picture has a new look thanks to the many accidents in Sunday’s Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
There’s only one race left in the second round of the playoffs and heading into next week’s cut-off race at Kansas Speedway, Jamie McMurray, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch are all on the outside looking in.
All four of those drivers were involved in accidents on Sunday.
Busch is seven points below the cut-off and was involved in one of Sunday’s multi-car accidents that swept up other playoff drivers including Jimmie Johnson.
“I had no clue what happened,” Busch explained. “I just saw the 38 (David Ragan) get sideways above me and then he came across my back and I missed him and he must have got the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and the 48 shot up right across in front of us. I never seen him. I wish I would’ve saw him a little bit down there.
“I could’ve shot to the apron and tried to miss him, but unfortunately we just got messed up in that deal. I hate it for our situation and what we’ve got going on, that’s not what we needed today, but that’s what we got so we’ll just move on to next week.”
Johnson, who came out of Talladega still on the safe side of the playoff picture, echoed Busch’s perspective of being a victim of circumstance in the accident.
“Really hard to tell what started it,” Johnson said. “I just saw the No. 38 turning down across the group and hooked me and sent me up into the wall.
“We had a very fast Lowe’s Chevrolet even with it torn up after a couple of little incidents on the track. We were still in there mixing it up for the win.”
Stenhouse Jr., winner of two restrictor plate races this year, fell into the basement of the standings after he ended up 26th when involved in the 17-car melee.
“It was a bummer,” he said.
“We were working on getting our track position back. We felt good in the first run and got hung out there at the end of the second stage and were just working on our track position. I felt like we had a really fast Sunny D Ford to contend for a win and put on a show for all these fans that came out. Bummer we don’t get to do it but we will go on to Kansas next week and have some fun.”