Date: July 5, 2020
Event: Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 (Round 16 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Note: Race extended one lap past its scheduled 160-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Start/Finish: 7th/6th (Running, completed 161 of 161 laps)
Point Standing: 10th (461 points, 176 behind leader)
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):
● Kyle Busch started seventh and finished eighth, earning three bonus points.
● The Skittles America Mix driver started seventh, but dropped to 10th by the time the competition caution waved on lap 12.
● Busch came to pit road on lap 14, taking on four tires, fuel and adjustments to get the splitter off the track more on restarts and to tighten up a loose handling condition. He restarted 12th.
● The defending NASCAR Cup Series champion moved up to seventh by lap 38. The caution waved on lap 39, and Busch came to pit road for four tires, fuel, and adjustments, as he restarted eighth on the restart with just four laps to go in Stage 1.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100)
● Busch started fifth and finished seventh, earning four bonus points.
● The Skittles America Mix driver came to pit road following Stage 1, taking on four tires, fuel and adjustments as he started fifth to start Stage 2.
● Busch stayed inside the top-five until dropping to sixth on lap 74, but a caution waved two laps later and Busch came to pit road to take on four tires, fuel and adjustments. Crew chief Adam Stevens told Busch he had some cords showing on the right front tire, as Busch had told Stevens there was a small vibration during the previous run.
● The Las Vegas native moved up to a high as sixth, before settling into seventh for the rest of Stage 2.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-161):
● Busch started 14th and finished sixth.
● Following the completion of Stage 2, Busch radioed to Stevens that he felt a vibration again, so Stevens told Busch to come to pit road if he didn’t feel comfortable with the fell. Busch did so on lap 102 to take on four fresh tires, fuel, and adjustments, restarting 15th for the final stage.
● Busch had a strong restart to the final stage, moving up to 10th by lap 105.
● The Skittles America Mix driver went long on the green flag run and sat second when the caution waved on lap 133. Busch came to pit road on lap later to change four tires and add fuel, coming out of pit road in third-place, but behind several other leaders who had pitted under green.
● However, Busch had a flat tire after leaving pit road from an apparent valve stem getting knocked off, forcing him to return to pit road on lap 135 to change four tires yet again, as he restarted 13th with 22 laps to go in the race.
● Busch moved up into 10th by lap 140, but an accident involving race leader Denny Hamlin brought out the yellow and setup a two lap shootout to finish the race.
● The Skittles America Mix driver was able to move up two positions during the two lap overtime session to bring home a sixth-place finish.
● Busch’s sixth-place finish is his 305th career top-10 finish.
● Busch now has ninth top-10s in the 2020 NASCAR season.
● This marks his 12th top-10 in 16 career starts at Indianapolis.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Skittles America Mix Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“We just kept getting off on pit strategy with the Skittles America Mix Camry. We had a valve stem come out of the left rear on a stop and that put us in the back. Then we had vibrations at various points throughout the race with different sets of tires so we had to stay on top of that and make sure we changed those. Each time, that would put us on the back. I struggled to pass anybody most of the day, but somehow got spots on restarts. I was able to salvage a sixth-place finish and will head to Kentucky next week.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Kentucky 400 on Sunday, July 12 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!