Event: Go Bowling 400 (Round 11 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (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: 7th (325 points, 150 out of first)
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Kyle Busch started fifth, finished first.
● The M&M’S Red Nose Day driver reported very few issues with the handling on the No. 18 Toyota during Stage 1. The most significant issue was that the car was handling slightly on the tight side at the exit of the turns.
● While handling was not much of an issue, a concern in the engine department developed during the midpoint of Stage 1 when the temperatures started rising. The team identified the issue as being a piece of debris on the nose of the car. Busch solved the problem when he dropped behind fellow driver Kevin Harvick and was able to utilize the fans to remove the debris.
● During the second caution on lap 49, the team changed four tires, added fuel and adjusted the chassis and air pressure. Busch restarted the race in sixth place and worked his way up to second during the next three laps.
● Busch raced his way into the lead after a restart on lap 62, taking the top spot officially on lap 63 and maintaining it to the conclusion of Stage 1 to score his second stage win of the 2017 NASCAR season.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
● Busch started second, finished fifth.
● After restarting second, Busch stalked race leader Martin Truex Jr. during the first several laps of Stage 2. It was during the restart following the fourth caution that Busch was able to make his move to retake the top spot. He spent the next several laps cruising at the front of the field.
● While he continued logging laps in the top spot, Busch reported that a vibration developed on the No. 18 Red Nose Day Toyota. A caution on lap 137 gave him the opportunity to bring the car to the attention of the team for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Busch restarted the race in fourth place.
● Busch finished Stage 2 in fifth place, reporting a slight tight-handling issue at the exit of the turns during the start of a run.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):
● Busch started fifth, finished fifth.
● The 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion noted early in the final stage that the car’s handling was too loose, specifically noting that the car was sideways getting into the corners, especially when racing behind another car. It was a condition that persisted throughout the final stage of the race despite a variety of adjustments intended to stabilize the racecar’s handling.
● Despite the handling issues Busch made valiant attempts to position the M&M’S Red Nose Day Toyota back at the front of the field, including a breathtaking move during a restart on lap 220 when Busch raced from seventh place to second in a single lap.
● While the loose-handling issue persisted, Busch was able to race back into the top-five by the time the checkered flag waved.
● Busch led two times for 59 laps to bring his laps-led total at Kansas to 215.
● This is Busch’s fifth top-five finish in 19 career starts at Kansas and his fourth top five of the season.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Red Nose Day Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“The M&M’s Red Nose Day Camry was fast when the sun was out. We were pretty quick up there riding the high side and doing a good job. We won the first segment, and then the second segment I thought we had a shot to win that one too. But once it got dark we just kind of lost it. Actually, other guys just got faster; but these guys gave me a great piece here. We had a lot of fun. Probably came out of here with a better finish than we expected to with it as off as it was there at the end and everything that happened in there. We just kind of got the right breaks, got lucky to miss the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) coming across our nose and made it to the stripe fifth, so we’ll go to next week.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!