Date: June 30, 2019
Event: Camping World 400 (Round 17 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 17th/22nd (Running, completed 266 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 2nd (659 points, 18 out of first)
Race Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Kyle Busch started 17th and finished 30th.
● Busch set to work from the drop of the green flag, moving from 17th to 11th by lap 10. He dropped back a couple of positions and was in 14th place when NASCAR red-flagged the race for severe weather in the area. The race was stopped for 3 hours, 18 minutes and 26 seconds.
● Once the red flag was lifted and cars started making laps on the track, Busch reported a vibration in his tires. He and a number of other drivers made a trip to pit road. Busch got four tires and was in 19th place when green-flag racing resumed on lap 16.
● The 2015 NASCAR champion had raced his way to the 10th position, but after brushing the outside wall on lap 25 he dropped back half a dozen spots to 16th. The damage wasn’t severe and he was able to continue, but he did report that the car was handling tight from the center of the turn to exit.
● A number of cars started making green-flag pit stops, but because Busch was running lap times a little slower, the team decided to try to stretch the fuel to the end of the stage. Busch was in fifth when he reported that he thought he had a flat left-front tire on lap 76. He came to pit road, where the team changed only the left-side tires to avoid losing a lap. One lap later the team discovered it was the right-front tire that was flat, so Busch had to make another stop for tires.
● Busch was in 30th place when Stage 1 concluded. He made a stop during the break to allow the team to make repairs to the right-side quarter panel.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
● Started 29th and finished ninth.
● In order to have time for repairs, the team had Busch make a stop with the lead-lap cars, which put him back on track at the rear of the field. Busch patiently logged laps when green-flag racing resumed. By lap 100 Busch was in 21st place, the first car in position to transfer to the lead lap once a caution was displayed.
● The caution Busch needed came two laps later on lap 102, placing the No. 18 Skittles America Mix Toyota back on the lead lap. Busch reported that the car was handling loose at certain points of the turns before reverting to the tight condition at the exits.
● The team took its time making a series of adjustments and continued repairs to the No. 18 car. Busch was in 21st place when green-flag racing resumed on lap 108.
● Once again, Busch quietly logged laps and was in 15th place by lap 126, then back to 10th by lap 149. He reported that the loose condition was the problem that needed the most help. Busch picked up one more position to finish Stage 2 in ninth place.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):
● Started eighth and finished 22nd.
● Stage 3 started solidly for Busch as he made an aggressive move during the restart to position the No. 18 Skittles America Mix Toyota at the front of the field. He settled in among the top-10 before making contact with the No. 22 on lap 169. The contact damaged the left-rear tire, so Busch had to stop for tires. He resumed racing scored one lap down in 25th place.
● When caution was displayed a few laps later, Busch brought the car to pit road for four tires and fuel. He was in 24th place when green-flag racing resumed on lap 176.
● During the next several laps Busch was able to once again place the No. 18 car in the transfer spot, being the first car in the lap-down category. The caution he needed, however, did not come.
● While Busch continued to log laps, smoke started filling the cockpit due to an issue with the crush panels. He made a pit stop on lap 239 so the team could change tires and remove a wedge rubber in the hopes of alleviating the smoke. Busch managed to complete the race without issue, finishing the day in 22nd place.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Skittles America Mix Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“That wasn’t the outcome we had hoped for with our Skittles America Mix Toyota. The car had been a struggle all weekend. We thought we were set up to be able to get a solid finish, but it didn’t work out.”
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday, July 6 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!