Busch entered the Round of 12 eight points clear of the elimination zone. He started Sunday's race with high hopes, knowing that ex-RCR driver Tyler Reddick was the defending winner of the event in that No. 8 Chevrolet.
He quietly marched forward, but after nearly taking the lead on an early restart, he felt something going wrong and faded back through the pack.
While trying to limp to the end of the first stage, the rear-end snapped around on him and the two-time NASCAR Cup champion slammed the outside wall.
He reversed his way back into the pits, but there was too much damage for the team to fix it. Time ran out on the DVP (Damaged Vehicle Policy) clock and he finished 34th, completing just 73 of 267 laps.
“I have no idea," he told NBC after being released from the infield care center. "It felt really good when we came off of pitroad after that green-flag stop. The car had good grip in it. And then we got those couple of yellows back-to-back and we restarted on the outside. I felt like I had a flat right front (tire). I was going to come to pit road and I second-guessed it and said ‘I don’t think so, man. It’s just something is wrong. Something isn’t right, but it’s not a flat’. And just all on its own, just turned into the bottom of the race track in turn one and it just swapped ends on me. That’s the rear, not the front, not having grip, so I just don’t know.
"I hate it for everyone on this 3CHI Chevrolet. I felt like our car was for sure a top-five or top-10 car today. It seems like every time I try, something happens. I crash or whatever. That right there, I just said it two laps before that – I got up on the high-side and was like, you know what, I just need to stop and just run the bottom, just make laps here, just finish the stage and it swaps ends on me.
"I don't know what to do. If someone wants to tell me what to do, I'm all ears."
It's been a rocky playoffs for Busch, starting from the rear of the field after an incident in practice at both Darlington and Kansas. He ended the round with a 20th-place finish at Bristol, but managed to move forward in the playoffs.
After his early exit at Texas, he now heads to Talladega last in the standings, 17 points below the cut-line. The good news is that the NASCAR Cup Series already visited Talladega earlier this year, and it was Busch who took the checkered flag.