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Headaches galore: Contenders struggle in NASCAR playoffs

DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 05: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Offerpad Toyota,...
DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 05: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Offerpad Toyota, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on September 05, 2021 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared East/Getty Images)(Jared East | Getty Images)
Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 4:37 PM EDT
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DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — There were problems galore from some of the top contenders to start the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

Kyle Busch cursed and ran over some cones heading to the garage. Chase Elliott told his crew chief simply, “It’s killed.” Another of Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates, William Byron, flamed out after hitting the wall while Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell saw his playoff opener end while it was still daylight in the four-plus hour race into the evening.

Drivers have just two races left in the opening round of the playoffs to ensure they’ll keep their chance to compete for a title.

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