Date: July 7, 2019
Event: Coke Zero Sugar 400 (Round 18 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Start/Finish: 2nd/14th (Running, completed 127 of 127 laps in rain-shortened race)
Point Standing: 2nd (682 points, 18 behind first)
Race Winner: Justin Haley of Spire Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Austin Dillon of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):
● Kyle Busch started second and finished 15th.
● After rain delayed the race from Saturday night until Sunday afternoon, the 400-miler finally took the green just after 1 p.m.
● The Las Vegas native passed Joey Logano for the lead on the second lap, but Logano retook the spot the next lap.
● By lap 20, Busch radioed to crew chief Adam Stevens that he was losing grip in all four tires, but mainly the rear tires. He dropped back to 11th by lap 33 and 18th by lap 40.
● Busch came to pit road for the first time on lap 37, taking fuel only and returning to the track in 15th place, where he eventually finished the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):
● Started 10th and finished 15th.
● The Interstate Batteries Toyota driver came to pit road on lap 52 for four tires and fuel, and his over-the-wall crew also fixed a slightly bent right-front fender. Still, the team completed a fast stop and sent Busch back out in 10th to start Stage 2.
● Busch dropped to 23rd shortly after the restart but quickly moved back up into the top-10.
● The 2015 NASCAR champ told Stevens he needed more grip and the car was tight on the exit of the corner. He had fallen to 15th by the end of the second stage.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 101-127):
● Started 34th and finished 14th.
● The Interstate Batteries Toyota driver came to pit road during the stage break on lap 102, but he overshot his pit stall and had to back up so his team could perform the pit stop. The issue forced him to start the final stage in 34th.
● Busch didn’t stay in the back of the pack very long, working his way up to eighth.
● However, as rain was approaching, the pack started getting much racier. At the front of the field, leader Austin Dillon tried to block a pass by Clint Bowyer and triggered a 17-car accident. Busch was one of those drivers collected in the melee.
● Busch came to pit road under caution three times to fix the damage, but as the race was set to go back to green, an approaching storm forced a hold for lightning in the area. While NASCAR attempted to resume racing over the next couple of hours, the rain became persistent and they were forced to call the race complete with 33 of the scheduled 160 laps remaining.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“Seemed to be a typical Daytona for me. We had a pretty good Interstate Batteries Camry but got shuffled back a bit, but we were moving our way back up. Not sure what happened at the front of the field, but I really had nowhere to go. I don’t think the body was damaged too badly, but our tow was off and it was probably not got going to drive well if we ended up going back to green. Hate it for all our Interstate Batteries guys, but we’ll move on to the next one.”
Team Interstate Results:
● Kyle Busch finished 14th.
● Martin Truex Jr. finished 22nd.
● Erik Jones finished 23rd.
● Denny Hamlin finished 26th.
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Quaker State 400 on Saturday night, July 13 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!