Event: First Data 500 (Round 33 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Start/Finish: 5th/3rd (completed 505 of 505 laps)
Point Standing: 18th with 829 points
Note: Race ended in overtime, going five laps past its scheduled 500-lap distance
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-130):
● Clint Bowyer started fifth and finished 15th.
● Ran in fifth in the opening laps turning very competitive lap times.
● Pitted from sixth at the lap-40 competition caution, but an air gun malfunction during the pit stop dropped him to 17th.
● Dropped to 26th as the crew attempted to help the car turn and cut better.
● The changes worked, and Bowyer drove back to 15th before the stage ended.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 131-260):
● Started 13th and finished ninth.
● Bowyer continued his charge to the front, climbing into the top-10 by lap 192.
● Bowyer turned in top-three lap times throughout the stage.
● Only 12 cars raced on the lead lap at the end of the stage, which ran without caution.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 261-500):
● Started ninth and finished third.
● Climbed to sixth at the lap-300 mark.
● Bowyer jumped from eighth to fifth on a lap-370 restart.
● Bowyer raced in seventh with seven laps remaining.
● Bowyer started overtime in third and held his position over the final three laps.
● Six of the top-10 finishers were Ford drivers.
● Bowyer scored his sixth top-five and 13th top-10 finish of 2017.
● This was Bowyer’s fifth top-five and 14th top-10 finish in 23 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville.
● There were 11 caution periods for a total of 74 laps.
● Kyle Busch won the First Data 500 to score his 43rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fifth of the season and his second at Martinsville. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was .141 of a second.
● Busch leads the playoff standings via his win and has 4,100 points, while Truex is the points leader with 4,117.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“That was a really good run for us. We got down early when we had an air gun break, but nobody gave up, and we came back pretty strong. It was hard to pass today. I mean really hard. In the last few weeks we’ve had good cars and just got caught in somebody else’s problems. Today we avoided all that and showed everyone how good of a race team we are.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the AAA Texas 500 onSunday, Nov. 5 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. It is the eighth race of the 10-race playoffs and starts at 2 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBCSN.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!