Kyle Busch's Chase chances sputtering like the motor on the 18 car

Updated: September 28, 2008, 8:42 PM ET

Jason Smith/Getty Images/NASCAR

Mechanical failure doomed Kyle Busch's No. 18 Toyota yet again Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Yogi Berra said, "It ain't over till it's over."

For Kyle Busch, it's over.

Busch had a mechanical problem for the third consecutive race, finishing 28th in the No. 18 Toyota. The man who led the standings and dominated the regular season is now 311 points behind in 12th place, the Chase cellar.

His car had an engine problem Sunday that stumped the crew.

"It was just sputtering and not running clean," Busch said.

Crew chief Steve Addington said it was some type of fuel pressure issue.

"We were 25 laps into the race and thought the motor was doing what it did last week and coming apart," Addington said. "We came in, checked all the lines and couldn't find anything. We'll go back and dissect the whole car."

Busch was 208 points ahead of second-place Carl Edwards before the Chase began. He was 30 points ahead when the standings were reset for the playoff.

Any realistic chance he had of getting back in contention has ended. Busch was asked afterward how he feels.

"I think it's pretty self-explanatory to everybody out there," Busch said.

The three Joe Gibbs Racing cars hold down the last three spots in the Chase. Tony Stewart, who finished 40th Sunday, is 11th. Denny Hamlin, who finished 11th at Kansas, is 10th in the playoff rankings.

"My teammates now are having the same luck I've had all year," Hamlin said. "We're all trying new stuff and trying to get better. We're just trying to keep our stuff together."

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.

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Ailing Gordon finishes fourth

Jeff Gordon

Gordon

Jeff Gordon said he has never gotten in a race car feeling as sick as he did Sunday, but he still finished fourth in the No. 24 Chevrolet.

"I guess I need to be sick more often," Gordon said. "But I know if I had been healthy I would have gotten more out of it. It was a tough day, but I'm real proud of our team's effort. We'll take it."

Gordon ranks sixth in the Chase standings, 143 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.

Career day for Allmendinger

AJ Allmendinger had something to prove. Five days after learning he was out of a job at Red Bull Racing, Allmendinger posted a career-best finish of ninth in the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota.

"It's easier to drive when you have a good car," Allmendinger said. "The racing is so tough out there. Everybody is fighting hard, but you have to be aggressive. I'm definitely going to sleep well tonight."

Sunday may have been Allmendinger's last race for the Red Bull Racing Team. RBRT general manager Jay Frye said Sunday they will make an announcement Tuesday about who will drive the last seven races, but Allmendinger and the team already decided to part ways for 2009.

Allmendinger has spoken to Cup team owner Chip Ganassi about his opening in the No. 41 Dodge.

RCR drivers salvage solid runs

Two Chase drivers from Richard Childress Racing had problems before a green-flag lap was completed but still managed decent finishes.

Clint Bowyer jumped the start and was given a pass-through penalty in the pits, causing him to go a lap down in the No. 07 Chevrolet; he finished 12th.

Jeff Burton's team had to switch out a faulty tachometer on his No. 31 Chevy after the call to start engines. The change was done quickly and Burton made it off pit road for the second parade lap.

But he had to start in the back of the field because of an equipment change, which counted as a pit stop after the engines fired. Burton recovered and finished seventh.

Standings