Date: June 7, 2020
Event: Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (Round 10 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54-mile oval)
Format: 325 laps, broken into three stages (105 laps/105 laps/115 laps)
Start/Finish: 4th/2nd (Running, completed 325 of 325 laps)
Point Standing: 9th (308 points, 113 out of first)
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-105):
● Kyle Busch started fourth, finished second, earning nine bonus points
● Busch started within the top-five and stayed there over the course of early laps of the race. Crew chief Adam Stevens called Busch to pit road on lap 27 following the competition caution to take on four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments.
● The M&M’S Fudge Brownie driver came to pit road for the second time on lap 68, taking on four tires and adjustments, but trouble on the left side caused him to fall to sixth after green pit stops cycled through.
● Busch had moved up to fifth when the caution waved on lap 95 and brought his No. 18 Camry to pit road for tires, fuel and adjustments, setting up a five-lap dash for the end of Stage 1.
● The Las Vegas native had some success on the restart, as he moved up past Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick to finish second in the stage behind JGR teammate Truex Jr.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 106-210):
● Busch started third, finished fourth, earning seven bonus points
● Stevens called Busch to pit road following the stage on lap 108, taking on four tires, fuel and adjustments as the M&M’s Fudge Brownie driver started Stage 2 in the third position.
● Busch hung inside the top-five for much of Stage 2, pitting on lap 159 for tires and fuel, and running third when green flag stops cycled through.
● The caution waved with nine laps to go in the stage as the field headed to pit road one lap later.
● Busch came to pit road on lap 203 for fresh tires and fuel, as he restarted in the lead. However, Busch could not hold the lead for the final four laps of the stage and slipped to fourth.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 211-325):
● Busch started first, finished second.
● Busch came to pit road on lap 213, again taking on four tires and fuel, with the M&M’S Fudge Brownie over-the-wall team vaulting Busch from fourth back into the lead to start the final stage.
● The 2019 NASCAR Cup Series champ slipped back to third on the restart and settled into that position for the next portion of the race.
● With leader and eventual race winner Kevin Harvick out of reach, Busch caught and passed Truex Jr. with less than 10 laps to go as he sealed a solid runner-up finish.
● Busch’s second-place finish at Atlanta was his sixth top-five result of 2020.
● This is Busch’s six top-five and ninth top-10 finish at Atlanta in 22 career starts.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Fudge Brownie Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“Our Fudge Brownie M&M’s Camry was pretty decent. We had good speed, you just couldn’t really push too hard. Every time I pushed too hard, it would really hurt my tires in the long run. I think that was for everybody. That last run, I was trying to keep up with those front guys and as soon as I felt like I was pushing too hard and they were inching out on me, I just gave up and decided just to run and try to make sure I didn’t slip a tire and do the best I could without pushing anything too hard. Was able to get Martin (Truex Jr.) at least there at the end. Can’t say enough about all my guys – Adam Stevens (crew chief) and everybody, they’re doing a really good job. We’re working hard and trying to get it all better.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 on Wednesday, June 10 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The race starts at 7 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNCK!