Date: May 27, 2018
Event: Coca-Cola 600 (Round 13 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into four stages (100 laps/100 laps/100 laps/100 laps)
Start/Finish: 28th/12th (Running, completed 399 of 400 laps)
Point Standing: 8th (421 points, 152 out of first)
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 3 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 100):
● Clint Bowyer started 28th and finished seventh.
● Clint told the crew his car was tight in the corners and said the tires felt like they had too much air.
● The No. 14 pit crew made quick pit stops and chassis adjustments that propelled Bowyer into the top-10.
● The car was loose at the end of the stage, but Bowyer climbed from ninth to seventh in final laps.
Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 200):
● Started seventh and finished fifth.
● Bowyer reported the car still needed more overall grip as crew continued to work to improve the handling.
● Moved from seventh to fifth in the final 18 laps of the stage.
Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 300):
● Started fourth and finished 20th.
● Dropped to seventh by the halfway mark.
● Told crew his car started tight but ended up loose at the end of the run.
● Stayed on the track to save tires and struggled with handling as he fell back to 19th.
Final Stage Recap (Ended at Lap 400):
● Started 21st and finished 12th.
● Charged from 21st to 14th in the opening laps of the stage.
● Stayed on the lead lap until 11 laps remaining.
● The stage ran without a caution.
● This was Bowyer’s 11th top-15 finish of 2018.
● Bowyer finished seventh in Stage 1 to earn four bonus points and fifth in Stage 2 to earn an additional six bonus points.
● Kyle Busch won the Coca-Cola 600 to score his 47th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fourth of the season and his first at Charlotte. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr., was 3.823 seconds. With his Coca-Cola 600 victory, Kyle Busch became the first driver to secure a points-paying win at every track the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series visits.
● There were 11 caution periods for a total of 54 laps.
● Only nine of the 40 drivers in the Coca-Cola 600 finished on the lead lap.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation VF-1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It’s frustrating. You come here and it’s a long race, and what a weird race. It was like we had track position and cars were way back and laps down and then all the wrecks opened the door for them to get the laps back. Then we lost track position on tires there and kind of halfway got it back, but it was just a frustrating weekend altogether, really.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Pocono 400 on Sunday, June 3 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!