|Date: Sep. 3, 2017
Event: Bojangles’ Southern 500 (Round 25 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (1.366-mile oval)
Format: 367 laps, broken into three stages (100 laps/100 laps/167 laps)
Start/Finish: 7th/3rd (Running, completed 367 of 367 laps)
Point Standing: 13th (624 points, 376 out of first)
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-100):
● Kurt Busch started seventh, finished 11th.
● Busch said his No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion became loose on entry during the opening laps.
● During a lap-42 caution, Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. A quick pit stop from the Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford crew promoted Busch to the top-five.
● Busch fought just outside of the top-five until loose handling conditions demoted him outside of the top-10.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 101-200):
● Started 12th, finished seventh. Earned four bonus points.
● Busch battled rear-grip issues throughout the second stage.
● During a lap-157 caution, Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments. He restarted in the eighth position.
● He ran as high as fifth place before battling just outside of the top-five until the conclusion of the stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 201-367):
● Started seventh, finished third.
● After a caution on lap 262, Busch pitted for four tires and fuel. The Monster Energy/Haas Automation crew earned Busch two spots to restart fourth.
● Busch pitted under green-flag conditions for four tires and fuel on lap 304 and moved to the second position behind teammate Kevin Harvick on lap 315.
● On lap 320, Busch took the lead for seven laps before he began to report loose-handling conditions.
● He piloted his Ford Fusion within the top-four and gained one more position on the closing laps when the leader hit the wall.
● This was Busch’s 34th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Darlington and his 601st career NASCAR Cup Series start.
● Busch lead seven laps in Bojangles’ Southern 500.
● This was Busch’s third top-five at Darlington and fourth top-five of the 2017 season.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 38 laps.
● Eight of the 40 drivers in the Southern 500 finished on the lead lap.
● Denny Hamlin won Bojangles’ Southern 500 to score his 31st career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Darlington. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was 2.599 seconds.
● Truex leads the championship standings with 1,000 points and has a 107-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Busch.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I thought that we had a great battle tonight. It was a lot of fun with the Monster Energy Ford. To be in position to win the Southern 500, it throws chills down your spine. With about 100 laps to go I knew we were close. I was hoping that we would find the right strategy to come out ahead. The 78 was fast, and those other Toyotas came in there. I thought that I was going to do it for our Fords. We didn’t quite get the job done. To be in position to win the Southern 500, I just want to give a shoutout to all the fans. It’s a fun weekend to be here on Labor Day weekend.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!