Kyle Busch finished 35th after a crash in stage 2.

Kyle Busch: 'can't afford days like this' after Gateway wreck

Kyle Busch saw his playoff hopes take another hard hit Sunday afternoon after a crash on the final lap of stage 2.

Busch was winless entering the race weekend at Gateway, a track where he had an average finish of 1.5. He had an opportunity to win his second consecutive race at the 1.25-mile track but a crash sent his car to the garage.

Busch finished the race in 35th place.

MORE: WWT Raceway Cup Series results

The incident occurred as Busch and Kyle Larson raced hard for seventh place in the running order. They made contact and then Busch pinched Larson toward the bottom of the track. They continued to make contact before Larson lost control and spun.

Busch's No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet took the worst of the collision. It made hard contact with the outside wall and sustained race-ending damage.

Larson's No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet backed into the outside wall but did not sustain significant damage. Larson was able to meet minimum speed and continue in the race. Larson finished 10th.

"It looked like (Larson) got loose down the front straightaway into Turn 1," Busch said after exiting the infield care center. "He was on older tires and trying to get us for a spot. I'm not sure what that single point would mean for him, but it certainly hurt us a lot.

"It took that point away, as well as the others that we would get for the stage and then also the rest of the day. It's very frustrating. We can't afford days like that. The No. 8 Rebel Bourbon Camaro wasn't what it was last year, but it was a top-10 car and we were going to finish there. Now we're not going to finish at all."

Busch, who holds the NASCAR record with 19 consecutive seasons with at least one win, headed to Gateway with no room for error. He was in a playoff spot based on the Cup standings, but he was only 12 points above the playoff cutline. Chris Buescher was in the final playoff spot and only one point behind Busch after the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600.

The 35th-place finish in Sunday's race will likely drop Busch out of a playoff spot heading to Sonoma next weekend.