It's Rowdy in Texas!
Date: April 8, 2018
Event: Texas 500 (Round 7 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 334 laps, broken into three stages (85 laps/85 laps/164 laps)
Start/Finish: 8th/1st (Running, completed 334 of 334 laps)
Point Standing: 1st (316 points, 38 ahead of second)
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):
● Kyle Busch started eighth, finished second.
● After starting eighth, Busch worked through traffic in his No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, moving into the top-five by lap 57.
● Busch moved up to the runner-up spot by lap 78, right before the caution waved for an accident at the end of Stage 1.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-170):
● Started first, finished first.
● Busch’s Interstate Batteries team performed a strong pit stop on lap 86, bolting on four fresh tires, adding fuel and giving Busch the lead off pit road.
● Busch held the lead until Stage 1 winner Kevin Harvick passed him on lap 117.
● Following a caution for another accident on lap 127, Busch came to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. He returned to the track in the same spot, but this time behind his brother, Kurt Busch.
● Kyle Busch spent the rest of the stage tracking down his brother. He pulled past the No. 41 with three laps to go in the stage and held on for the Stage 2 win.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 171-334):
● Started second and finished first.
● Busch restarted second in the third and final stage, but he encountered some trouble on the restart. While running underneath Chase Elliott entering turn two, something caused the No. 18 to go loose and nearly spin out.
● Busch was able to hold on but lost precious track position. Before a big accident behind him brought out the red flag, Busch fell all the way to eighth.
● With a long way still to go, Busch patiently worked his way back up through the field, moving up to sixth by lap 186 and into fourth on lap 230 before pitting under green.
● Busch regained the lead on lap 241 and held it until he pitted on lap 291.
● He retook the lead on a restart on lap 305 and led the rest of the way.
● Busch won the Texas 500 to score his 44th career Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his third at Texas. His margin of victory over second-place Harvick was .3 of a second.
● Busch led four times for 116 laps.
● The 2015 Cup Series champion has now won at least one race in each season dating back to his rookie year of 2005.
● Busch has led 14,730 laps in his career, just 270 from 15,000.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 48 laps.
● Only 10 of the 37 drivers in the Texas 500 finished on the lead lap.
Team Interstate Results:
● Kyle Busch (Finished 1st / Running, completed 334 of 334 laps)
● Erik Jones (Finished 4th / Running, completed 334 of 334 laps)
● Daniel Suarez (Finished 29th / Running, completed 290 of 334 laps)
● Denny Hamlin (Finished 34th / Accident, completed 177 of 334 laps)
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“They (the No. 4 team with driver Harvick) were probably just a tick faster overall. I had to make sure to do everything I could to hit my marks and focus on doing the right things to block his air a little bit. This Interstate Batteries Camry was awesome today. I really want to thank Interstate Batteries. It’s their hometown. Norm Miller was here today, so this one here means a lot more to win here in Texas in the hometown of the Interstate Batteries guys. I can’t say enough about M&Ms, NOS Energy Drink, Cessna, DVX Eyewear and Black Clover and, of course, the fans. This has been a trying couple of months. After Daytona, we’ve been on a roll of finishing really good. I’ve been really pumped and excited about having that momentum we’ve been able to carry, yet frustrated at the same time trying to get to victory lane. It feels awesome. Any time you can win at a track that isn’t your favorite or isn’t one of your best, it definitely means even more, because you try to focus on those tracks and make it a little bit more meaningful and little more special to get it done. It’s so cool to be in victory lane here finally this year and punch our ticket into the playoffs and of course just continue our hot streak being the points leader right now and keeping these guys focused on what we need to do all year long.”
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Food City 500 on Sunday, April 15 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.