Race Recap: AAA Texas 500
Date: Nov. 5, 2017
Event: AAA Texas 500 (Round 34 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: 5th/19th (Running, completed 333 of 334 laps)
Point Standing: 2nd with 4,118 points, 50 out of first
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):
● Kyle Busch started fifth, finished 30th.
● Busch started the race fifth but had issues on the very first lap, as a right-rear tire had a puncture in it, sending him up the track and into the car of Brad Keselowski.
● Busch came to pit road for four tires and to fix the damage, and when he returned to the track, he was in 40th place and two laps down to the leaders.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-170):
● Busch started 30th, finished 27th.
● The Las Vegas native stayed out following the end of Stage 1, allowing him to take the wave-around and get one of his two laps back. He started Stage 2 one lap down in the 30th position.
● Busch pitted on lap 95 to fix right-front damage from the lap one accident. He restarted again in 30th and quickly got into the “lucky dog” spot as the first car one lap down.
● Despite holding onto the lucky dog spot, Busch did not catch the caution he was hoping for before the end of Stage 2.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 171-334):
● Busch started 22nd, finished 19th.
● The M&M’S Caramel Toyota driver stayed out during the stage break and was again the first car one lap down, in the 22nd position.
● Busch finally caught the break he was looking for on lap 179, when the caution waved and he was in the lucky dog spot, putting him back on the lead lap.
● The 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion had clawed his way back from two laps down, and more good fortune came his way on lap 235 when the caution waved. Most of the leaders had pitted, Busch had stayed out, and only eight cars were on the lead lap.
● He restarted sixth on lap 238, but with the right-front damage from the lap-one incident, he struggled with an ill-handling car while racing with the leaders and dropped to 13th by lap 267.
● Bad luck came calling for Busch yet again on lap 274 in the form of another punctured tire, this time his left rear. The pit stop to change left-side tires dropped Busch from 13th to 26th, putting him a lap down to the leaders, and he was never able to recover without the caution waving for the final 46 laps.
● Busch led once for a total of seven laps, extending his streak of consecutive races led to 17 races.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Caramel Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“It was a long day for sure. We got behind from the very beginning. I felt the tire going down taking the green, and we got some damage and got behind having to pit. The guys stayed focused, and we clawed our way back on the lead lap. That says a lot about our group with this M&M’S Caramel team. We finally got back on the lead lap and we had a left-rear tire go down again, so it’s crazy to think we ran over something twice in one race. Hoping that bad luck is out of the way, and we have two good weeks to finish the season.”
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Can-Am 500k on Sunday, Nov. 12 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC.