Race Recap: Federated Auto Parts 400

Date: Sept. 9, 2017
Event: Federated Auto Parts 400 (Round 26 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Richmond (Va.) Raceway (.75-mile oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into three stages (100 laps/100 laps/200 laps)
Start/Finish: 7th/9th (Running, completed 404 of 404 laps)
Point Standing: 3rd with 2,029 points, 24 out of first – IN THE PLAYOFFS
Note: Race ended in overtime, going four laps past its scheduled 400-lap distance

Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet) in overtime

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-100):

● Kyle Busch started seventh, finished first.

● Busch started the race seventh and ran in sixth for the first 36 laps of the race. Crew chief Adam Stevens worked on a car that was tight and losing sidebite with an air pressure adjustment on his lap-42 pit stop.

● The M&M’S Caramel Camry took off well on the next run, and Busch settled into third until the caution waved with 11 laps remaining in Stage 1.

● After a pit stop on lap 90, Busch restarted fourth with three cars staying out on the track. He quickly charged to the lead and held off Kyle Larson to bring home the Stage 1 win.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 101-200):

● Busch started second, finished 10th.

● The Las Vegas native settled into the runner-up spot behind Larson for the first portion of Stage 2 but slipped past him to retake the lead on lap 131. Martin Truex Jr. caught Busch and took over the lead on lap 156.

● Over a long green-flag run during Stage 2 Busch lost some spots, needing to be tighter in the center of the corner. By lap 179, he found himself in fifth place.

● Busch began to fall back during the final green-flag run in Stage 2. He radioed to Stevens that he had lost all grip and his tires wore too much as the run went on. He ran in 10th at the end of the stage.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 201-400):

● Busch started ninth, finished ninth.

● The M&M’S Caramel Toyota driver had a car that was just too tight throughout Stage 3. It seemed no matter what Stevens threw at it, the handling didn’t dramatically improve.

● Despite the handling issues, Busch had worked his way up to sixth with just a few laps remaining when the caution waved for the final time.

● After coming to pit road for tires and fuel, Busch restarted sixth. However, the cars of Brad Keselowski and Erik Jones collided ahead of him on the final lap, sending him up the track and causing him to lose several positions. He ended up ninth.


● Busch won Stage 1 to bring home his 11th stage win of the season. In all, Busch will bring 29 bonus points into the playoffs, which he can also carry over to each round.

● Busch led three times for a total of 38 laps.

● The 2015 Cup Series champion will head to Chicago third in the standings during the first race of the playoffs next Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois.

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Caramel Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

“We were tight early on in the night with our M&M’S Caramel Camry. We keep freeing our car up, but it just kept getting tighter.  Then at the end we decided to tighten it up, and it got better. Overall we were going to end up sixth. I thought that he was just going to be decent. That shows how fast our cars were for as bad of a night as we were going to have. That last yellow mixed everything up, threw us all for a loop. We just didn’t get the best of restarts, got plugged up on the top and couldn’t go anywhere. Overall, real proud of our M&M’S Caramel team. We’ve been real fast all year long. The 78 has been the best car all year long. Then arguably it’s Kyle (Larson) or myself for P2 depending on the week. Fourth on back, it’s pretty much everybody else. Hopefully we can keep it that way through these next nine weeks and make it to the last one at Homestead.” 

Next Up: 

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Tales of the Turtles 400 on Sunday, Sept. 17 at Chicagoland. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN.