Event: AAA Texas 500 (Round 34 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 334 laps, broken into three stages (85 laps/85 laps/164 laps)
Start/Finish: 7th/7th (Running, completed 337 of 337 laps)
Point Standing: (5th with 4,100 points, 25 points outside the top-four cutoff)
Note: Race extended three laps past its scheduled 334-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):
● Kurt Busch began Stage 1 in seventh and finished it in the second position, earning nine bonus points.
● The No. 41 State Water Heaters Ford Fusion was in sixth when the competition caution came out on lap 30.
● Busch said the car was a bit tight, especially in turns one and two. He pitted on lap 32 for two tires, fuel, and a tire pressure adjustment.
● After pitting, Busch restarted second.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-170):
● Busch started Stage 2 in second place and ended it in eighth, earning three bonus points.
● The No. 41 State Water Heaters Ford Fusion pitted on lap 88 for four tires, fuel, and a tire pressure adjustment.
● Busch was second when he pitted on lap 150 for four tires and fuel.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 171-337):
● Busch started the final stage third and ended it in the seventh position.
● The No. 41 State Water Heaters Ford Fusion pitted on lap 172 for right-side tires and fuel.
● Busch was in eighth place when a caution came out and he pitted on lap 227 for four tires, fuel, and a wedge and tire pressure adjustment.
● On lap 282, Busch pitted for four tires and fuel.
● Busch remained in the top-10 for the rest of the race and finished seventh.
● Kevin Harvick won the AAA Texas 500 to score his 45th career victory, his eighth of the 2018 season and his second at Texas.
● This was Busch’s 21st top-10 finish of 2018 and his 19th top-10 in 32 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Texas.
● Busch finished second in Stage 1 to earn nine bonus points and eighth in Stage 2 to earn three more bonus points.
● Ford took five of the top-10 positions, including the top-three.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 37 laps.
● Only 17 of the 40 drivers in the AAA Texas 500 finished on the lead lap.
Kurt Busch, Driver of the No. 41 State Water Heaters Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I just didn’t get the restarts nailed at the end. I was on the loose side. We thought we were going to be loose, but each restart just got worse and worse and we had no right-rear grip. I don’t know what really leads to that other than just heat cycles on the tires. We are in a good position. There are a lot of other people I would like to be right here. We just didn’t have the speed the 4 (Harvick) car had today, and hopefully we will get it next week.”
Playoff Standings: (with one race to go before the Championship 4):
1. Kevin Harvick (4,143) 1 win
2. Kyle Busch (4,128) +28
3. Martin Truex Jr. (4,125) +25
4. Joey Logano (4,119) 1 win
5. Kurt Busch (4,100) -25
6. Chase Elliott (4,086) -39
7. Aric Almirola (4,068) -57
8. Clint Bowyer (4,052) -73
SHR is the only team to feature all four of its drivers in the Round of 8.
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Can-Am 500k on Sunday, Nov. 11 at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!