Race Recap for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism

Date: June 4, 2017
Event: AAA Drive for Autism 400 (Round 13 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway (1-mile, concrete oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into three stages (120 laps/120 laps/160 laps)
Start/Finish: 1st/16th (Running, completed 405 of 406 laps)
Point Standing: 4th (416 points, 129 out of first)
Race Winner: Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet) in overtime

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-120):

● Kyle Busch started 1st, finished 9th.

● After starting from the top spot, Busch led the field around the 1-mile, concrete oval for the first 18 laps, noting that the car was handling well aside from being a bit loose at the entry of the turns through the center.

● Busch made a trip to pit road for four tires and fuel during the first caution on lap 16. A miscue leaving the pits, however, resulted in the left-rear tire coming completely off the No. 18 PEDIGREE® Toyota. Busch limped the car back around to pit road to the attention of the team, where it repaired damage to the left-rear quarterpanel and added a tire.

● The 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion restarted from the rear of the field but raced his way back into the top-20 by lap 50. He re-entered the top-10 for the first time on lap 71 and was in ninth place by the time Stage 1 came to an end at lap 120.  


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 121-240):                                 

● Busch started 6th, finished 4th.

● The Las Vegas-native kicked off Stage 2 with a great restart that enabled him to pick up two positions to fourth place. He continued to move up and was in second place by lap 153.

● Halfway through Stage 2, Busch reported that the car was really loose. The team used a caution on lap 193 to change four tires, add fuel and make a chassis adjustment.

● Once green-flag racing resumed, Busch settled in fourth place through to the conclusion of Stage 2. 


Stage 3 Recap (Laps 241-400):                               

● Busch started 5th, finished 16th.

● During the break between Stages 2 and 3, Busch reported that the car lacked grip at the start of a run but that it seemed to improve the longer the run continued. The team made an air-pressure adjustment, changed four tires and added fuel before the start of Stage 3. Restarting on the inside lane, however, cost Busch and he drifted from fifth to seventh place in the running order.  

● The PEDIGREE® Racing driver lost a couple more positions after the restart but the long, green-flag run that followed worked to Busch’s advantage. While the car did start to handle on the tight side, Busch was able to maintain consistent laps and started picking off cars ahead of him, racing his way to fourth place by lap 320.

● Busch made a scheduled stop during green-flag conditions on lap 327, when the team made a slight air-pressure adjustment, changed four tires and added fuel. The caution flag came out one lap later for an incident with the No. 43 car, resulting in Busch, as well as a number of other frontrunners, being in the lap-down category. The team was able to take the wave-around to return to the lead lap for the restart on lap 338 but had to restart from the rear of the field in 14th place.

● Busch was in 13th place on lap 352 when he reported that it felt as though he had a rear wheel coming loose. Rather than risk an accident, Busch brought the No. 18 Toyota to pit road for four tires on lap 360. He returned to racing two laps down in 19th place.

● A late caution and last-lap accident enabled Busch to make up a handful of positions to finish the race in 16th.


● Busch led once for 18 laps.

● Busch earned a total of nine bonus points – two points for finishing ninth in Stage 1 and seven points for finishing fourth in Stage 2. 

Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Pocono 400 on Sunday, June 11 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.