Date: July 1, 2017
Event: Coke Zero 400 (Round 17 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 163 laps, broken into three stages (40 laps/40 laps/83 laps)
Start/Finish: 15th/28th (Accident, completed 153 of 163 laps)
Point Standing: 14th (408 points, 259 out of first)
Race Winner: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. of Roush Fenway Racing in overtime (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-40):
● Kurt Busch started 15th, finished eighth. Earned three bonus points.
● Pitted during competition caution on lap 17 for four tires, fuel and left-rear and right-rear wedge adjustments.
● Restarted 20th and used bottom lane to drive up to eighth by end of stage.
● Pitted for four tires, fuel and left-rear and right-rear wedge adjustments, but problem with right-rear tire necessitated another trip to pit road.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 41-80):
● Started 34th, finished fourth. Earned seven bonus points.
● Drove all the way up to eighth prior to caution on lap 59. Stayed out and maintained track position.
● Restarted in sixth place and began running high line.
● Narrowly avoided No. 18 car when it cut a tire and spun right in front of Busch.
● Resumed running top lane and used it to drive all the way up to fourth place at end of stage.
● Pitted at completion of stage for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 81-163):
● Started 17th, finished 28th.
● Continued using top lane and mentioned on lap 89: “We’re looser here.”
● Contact with No. 75 car of Brendan Gaughan caused some right-front damage that needed to be repaired under caution.
● Pit stop under caution on lap 92 was lengthy to fix right-front fender. After repairs were made, Busch restarted 30th.
● When caution waved on lap 98, Busch stayed out and moved up to 19th for lap-102 restart.
● Busch keyed his radio on lap 105 and said: “Little loose, but the car feels faster than it did at start of race.”.
● Narrowly avoided multicar crash on lap 106. Use caution to pit and strengthen right-front fender repairs.
● Restarted in 22nd position on lap 111.
● Drove up to 13th by lap 143 by running the high line, which ebbed and flowed with low line.
● Collected in multicar accident on frontstretch 10 laps from the finish. Was evaluated and released from infield care center.
● This was Busch’s 33rd point-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Daytona and his 593rd career start.
● Busch won the season-opening Daytona 500 and entered the Coke Zero 400 looking to sweep Daytona’s slate of NASCAR Cup Series races.
● There were 14 caution periods for a total of 51 laps.
● Twenty-one of the 40 drivers in the Coke Zero 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the Coke Zero 400 to score his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Daytona. His margin of victory over second-place Clint Bowyer was .213 of a second.
● Kyle Larson leads the championship point standings with 667 points and has an 18-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Martin Truex Jr.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I was hoping to be a little closer to the front. I saw some crazy stuff happening on the high side. I was low and then we just got clipped in the wrong place at the wrong time. We didn’t get the Daytona sweep. Looked like the 43 just clipped us right there. I am good though. The cars are very safe. I’ve got to thank NASCAR for that. We just didn’t get the job done for Monster Energy and Haas Automation and Ford. We were really hoping for the Daytona sweep, but that’s the way it goes.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!