|Date: Aug. 12, 2018
Event: Consumers Energy 400 (Round 23 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (2-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish: 2nd/3rd (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 1st (986 points, 62 ahead of second)
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):
● Kyle Busch started second, finished second.
● Busch started on the outside of the front row and held the runner-up spot for the first 10 laps.
● After a caution for an Erik Jones spin, Busch vaulted to the lead on the restart on lap 15, a spot he held through his first pit stop of the day on lap 27.
● On the ensuing restart, Kevin Harvick was able to slip past Busch for the lead and hold it until the end of Stage 1, with Busch finishing second in the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):
● Started second, finished second.
● Busch radioed to crew chief Adam Stevens, that he was too tight on the previous run, so Stevens had the Interstate Batteries team perform a four-tire and air pressure change on the lap-63 pit stop.
● With strategy jumbling the field just a bit, Busch pitted again under caution for fuel only on lap 76 and restarted sixth with several other cars staying out.
● Busch moved up to third by lap 91, but he radioed to Stevens that his car was just too free, with his in-car trackbar adjuster inconsistently helping the loose condition.
● Busch moved up to second behind Harvick with eight laps to go in the stage, and he again brought home the Interstate Batteries Toyota in the runner-up spot.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 121-200):
● Started second, finished third.
● The 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion pitted on lap 123 and exited pit road in second.
● The Interstate Batteries driver radioed to Stevens that he was too tight to start the run and throughout the run, as he fell to fifth on lap 146.
● Busch pitted for the final time on lap 170, and after pit stops cycled out he found himself in fourth. With 10 laps to go he got around Ryan Blaney, and on the final lap he moved around Austin Dillon to bring home a third-place finish.
● Busch led three times for a total of 22 laps.
● Busch finished inside the top-four in both Michigan races in 2018.
● Busch’s third-place finish was his 17th top-five finish of 2018 and his sixth top-five at Michigan in 28 starts at the 2-mile oval.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“You better be right on to win these races these days with the guys that are winning and being able to execute at the end of the day. Our Interstate Batteries Camry was pretty close, but certainly wish we had just a tick more. Overall, good day for us – it’s Michigan, and we don’t count on much when we come to Michigan. We were able to take that, but the restarts were the name of the game here, and we were kind of on the bottom there the last couple of them and got shuffled back and wasn’t able to pass once everybody got strung out. Air was the reason why everybody got strung out, and once everybody did that you couldn’t make up any time on anybody at that point. Best chance we had to pass guys was just on strategy there at the end and on pit road. The car was good, and we got the most out of our day.”
Team Interstate Results:
● Kyle Busch finished third.
● Denny Hamlin finished eighth.
● Daniel Suarez finished 11th.
● Erik Jones finished 13th.
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race on Saturday, Aug. 18 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!