Team owner Joe Gibbs says he shares Kyle Busch's "agony of defeat" after the 27-year-old failed to make this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase at Richmond.
Busch entered the weekend in prime position to claim the final wild card entry into the Chase, and was on course to do so for much of the Saturday night race. However, during what was the final rain interruption of the 400-lap event the wrong strategy wrecked his bid, as he lost out by just three points to Hendrick Motorsports' Jeff Gordon.
Busch, who statistically counts Richmond as one of his best circuits, was visibly angry at the race's conclusion, quickly disappearing despite Gibbs's efforts to comfort him.
"I didn't really talk to Kyle much," said Gibbs. "I just...[crew chief] Dave Rogers, I was up there with him just sharing the disappointment.
"I think for all of us here you just feel bad because of all that was put into this. Again, this is pro sports and the best people in the world competing at this level. It can happen to you. Just very disappointed. I hate it for [sponsor] M&M's and for all of us on the race team – Kyle, all of us.
"It was just a real disappointing night. It's one of those things where you have the agony and defeat. That's kind of what happened to us."
Busch's teammate Denny Hamlin will start the Chase as the top seed thanks to his four victories during the regular season, but he too lamented Busch's failure to make the Chase, which means he will be Joe Gibbs Racing's sole representative during the playoff series.
Joey Logano also had a chance of entering the Chase at Richmond but only a win would have earned him a wild card spot.
"It sucks to not have Kyle in the Chase," said Hamlin. "It's important for JGR [Joe Gibbs Racing] to have cars in the Chase. That's Joe's [Gibbs] and J.D.'s [Gibbs] livelihood. They don't have any real businesses outside of that. They need cars in the Chase to make a living. So it's tough.
"That part of it's tough. It's up to us to go out there and try to perform and get them a championship with one of their cars."
JGR last claimed the Sprint Cup Series title with Tony Stewart in 2005, while Hamlin finished runner-up to Jimmie Johnson two years ago.