Event: Overton’s 400(Round 17 of 36)
Series: Monster EnergyNASCAR Cup Series
Location: Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois(1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 5th/5th (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 6th (579 points, 157 out of first)
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 80):
● Clint Bowyer started sixth and finished 30th.
● Bowyer took second on lap 12 and passed Ryan Blaney for the lead on lap 17. Blaney retook the lead on lap 18, before Bowyer regained the top spot on lap 19.
● Maintained the lead for the next 20 laps, then pitted for four tires and fuel during a green-flag stop on lap 38.
● Was penalized for speeding when leaving pit road and was penalized a second time during his drive-through, which forced him to make a stop and go that put him two laps down.
Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 160):
● Bowyer started 29th and finished eighth.
● Restarted two laps down and consistently posted laps inside the top-four throughout the stage.
● Made a long green-flag run and benefitted from a caution on lap 128 to receive the free pass. After pitting for four tires, fuel, and a left-rear wedge adjustment, he rejoined the field on the lead lap in position 15.
● Returned to the top-10 on lap 142 and held the ninth position for the next 14 laps before reaching eighth on lap 156.
Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 267):
● Bowyer started eighth and finished fifth.
● Took four tires and fuel and made right-side air pressure adjustments and put wedge back in left rear.
● Despite reporting his car had no speed through the middle and was washing out, he was able to return inside the top-10 on lap 206.
● Made right-rear air pressure and left-rear liner pressure changes during his final stop during a caution on lap 207.
● He restarted eighth and continued making consistent laps, reaching fifth on lap 226 by passing Joey Logano.
● This was Bowyer’s sixth top-five finish of 2018.
● Bowyer earned his second top-five in 13 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Chicagoland.
● He finished eighth in Stage 2 to earn two bonus points.
● Bowyer led twice for 21 laps to increase his total at Chicagoland to 29.
● Kyle Busch won the Overton’s 400 to score his 48th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fifth of the season and his second at Chicagoland. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Larson was 1.875 seconds.
● There were 5 caution periods for a total of 23 laps. Fifteen of the 39 drivers in the Overton’s 400 finished on the lead lap.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 WIX Filters Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Yeah, we were too fast on pit road during that first stop. The guys work very hard on making sure that they are pushing the envelope, which you have to do in this world and against this competition. You have to push everything. Certainly pit road is a big part of that. You are splitting hairs out there on the racetrack down to the tenths of a second, and you can gain seconds on pit road. Obviously, our pit road speed was just a little too fast. We practiced it yesterday, and the guys even made some adjustments, but that tight section down there was just too fast. The first time you second-guess yourself. You come down the second time and you are cautious and speed again, so now you know you’ve got a problem. Then it was just confusion on my part. I wasn’t listening and made a mistake and cost us a third time down. We got good at pitting today, unfortunately. The capabilities there to run with these three guys. Our race team is young and making some mistakes, but we have time to gain on those and build on those. You hate to give away those stage points. I think we could have won both those stages and maybe been in contention for a win. I am proud of everybody. WIX Filters was on the car this weekend, and everybody at Ford and the IT Savvy folks are here. We have a lot of good mojo on this 14 car, we just have to put it all together to get another win.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday, July 7 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!