Date: Aug. 19, 2017
Event: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race (Round 24 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533-mile oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (125 laps/125 laps/250 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th/19th (Running, completed 499 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 10th (642 points, 58 outside of championship cutoff)
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):
● Clint Bowyer started ninth and finished 15th.
● After 26 laps, Bowyer radioed that he was starting to lose the nose of his No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford. Dropped to 10th.
● By lap 41, Bowyer was 14th. “Gotta wait on it in the center (of the corner) and I spin the tires off the corner.”
● While under caution on lap 63, Bowyer pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. Restarted in 13th.
● Bowyer radioed he was “too loose up off (the corner)” on lap 103 while running 15th.
● At the conclusion of the stage, Bowyer pitted for four tires, fuel and a right-front tire pressure adjustment.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):
● Started 16th and finished 10th. Earned one bonus point.
● Caution on lap 201 allowed Bowyer to pit and grab four tires and fuel. It was a good stop, with Bowyer advancing from 11th to ninth.
● Another caution on lap 231 provided another opportunity to pit. Four tires and fuel with a left-rear wedge adjustment to help free up the Rush Truck Centers Ford.
● Restarted in 13th on lap 245, but fresh tires provided the grip Bowyer needed to break into the top-10.
● Stayed out at the end of the stage in an effort to gain track positon. It worked, with Bowyer restarting in fifth for the final stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 251-500):
● Started fifth and finished 19th.
● Still fighting a loose-handling racecar, Bowyer dropped to 12th by lap 339 and radioed, “I’m out of control.”
● Pitted for four tires and fuel with tire pressure adjustments during caution on lap 356. Restarted in 13th.
● When caution came out again on lap 396, Bowyer remained 13th and said his car was “up on top of the track with no grip.”
● Made final pit stop on lap 398, dropping left rear and right rear wedge in an attempt to get back of car better planted into track.
● Restarted 13th with 100 laps to go.
● Final caution came out on lap 416. Team opted not to pit since they only had one set of tires remaining and felt another caution was imminent.
● As race went green through to the finish, Bowyer’s No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford faded to 19th.
● Although 10th in points, Bowyer remains 17th in the standings to make the NASCAR playoffs, trailing the cutoff position held by Jamie McMurray by 58 points with two races remaining. Only the top-16 drivers make the playoffs, with those having won a race locked in with the remaining positions based on a driver’s point standing. Thirteen drivers have won a race this season, leaving only three playoff spots available for drivers to earn a berth via their point standing.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 53 laps.
● Fifteen of the 40 drivers in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race finished on the lead lap.
● Kyle Busch won the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race to score his 40th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his sixth at Bristol. His margin of victory over second-place Erik Jones was 1.422 seconds.
● Martin Truex Jr. leads the championship standings with 951 points and holds a 101-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Busch.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We just used up all of our stuff there at the end. The car was up on the track and we fought the handling all night, but that long, green-flag run at the end didn’t do us any favors.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!