Race Recap for the Can-Am 500k
Date: Nov. 11, 2018
Event: Can-Am 500k (Round 35 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: ISM Raceway near Phoenix (1-mile oval)
Format: 312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/162 laps)
Start/Finish: 6th/1st (Running, completed 312 of 312 laps)
Point Standing: 1st (5,000 points, CLINCHED BERTH IN CHAMPIONSHIP 4)
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):
● Kyle Busch started sixth, finished seventh.
● Busch started sixth and moved his way up to fourth by lap six.
● However, by lap 20 Busch developed a tight condition in the center in the corner and began to lose some positions.
● The 2015 Cup Series champion held onto the M&M’S Camry until the end of the stage to finish it in seventh.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):
● Busch started seventh, finished first.
● Busch restarted seventh to start the second stage, and his car again started off strong.
● The M&M’S driver developed a loose condition as the run went on, slotting in fifth by the time a caution waved on lap 105.
● Crew chief Adam Stevens called Busch to pit road on lap 135 for four tires and an air pressure adjustment with 13 laps remaining in the stage, slotting him 10th on the ensuing restart on lap 141.
● Busch rocketed toward the front on the restart, as several drivers in front of him had older tires. Busch made it up to second one lap after the lap-141 restart and to the lead on lap 144, which he held to win Stage 2.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 151-312):
● Busch started first, finished first.
● The Las Vegas native stayed out under the stage break and led the field to green for the third and final stage.
● Busch pitted on lap 226 for tires and an air pressure adjustment from second place. Just as he exited pit road, the caution came out for a spin and put Busch a lap down.
● The M&M’S driver was able to take the wave-around to get back on the lead lap and restarted 12th on lap 234.
● Just ahead of Busch, the 11th-place car of Kevin Harvick and the lapped car of David Ragan made contact. Busch tried to slow but barely got into the right-rear quarter panel of Harvick’s car.
● Busch was called to pit road on the next lap by Stevens to fix a small hole in the No. 18’s left-front quarter panel, and he restarted 18th on lap 244.
● Busch made quick work of cars ahead of him and was up to the eighth spot by lap 251.
● The M&M’S driver regained the lead with 35 laps remaining by passing teammate Erik Jones, and he maintained his position to secure the victory and his spot in the Championship 4.
● Kyle Busch won the Can-Am 500k to score his 51st career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his eighth of the season and his second at Phoenix. His margin of victory over second-place Brad Keselowski was .501 of a second.
● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 61 laps.
● Only 15 of the 39 drivers in the Can-Am 500k finished on the lead lap.
● Busch raced to the first position three times to lead 116 of the Can-Am 500k’s 312 laps increasing his laps-led total at Phoenix to 944 laps.
● Busch’s 51st career victory solidifies the M&M’S driver’s ranking of 11th on the all-time wins list. He is now three wins behind Lee Petty’s 54 career victories in the 10th spot.
● Busch is now only six victories away from a total of 100 NASCAR victories. He owns 51 Cup Series victories, 92 Xfinity Series victories and 51 Truck Series victories.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“It’s an awesome team and awesome group of guys. Can’t say enough about everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing. All the men and women there that work so hard to prepare such great race cars that I get to drive. M&M’s and Toyota – and its Veteran’s Day. I want to say thank you to all the veterans out there for everything that you all have sacrificed for us and done for our freedom in this country. Cool to race on Veteran’s Day. This is a sport that everybody loves to come out and participate in and be a part of whether it’s the military, whether it’s the fans that support the military – it’s awesome to have all that here in NASCAR.”
How much momentum does this give you for Homestead?
“I’d like to think it gives us a lot, but I don’t know – talk is cheap. We’ve got to be able to go out there and perform and just do what we need to do. Being able to do what we did here today was certainly beneficial. I didn’t think we were the best car, but we survived and we did what we needed to do today. It’s just about getting to next week and once we were locked in, it was ‘all bets are off and it’s time to go.’ That’s what our partners like to see and like to hear out of us – Interstate Batteries, NOS Energy Drink, Cessna, Stanley, Rheem, DVX Eyewear, Black Clover and of course Rowdy Nation – all the fans, we have some right down here in front of victory lane and some over there, they’re everywhere and I see yellow all over the place. It’s awesome to celebrate like this and we were the first ones in the Richmond victory lane and we’re the first ones in the Phoenix victory lane and I called my shot a few months ago because they had the 48 on the map showing everyone where things are at and I said, ‘That isn’t right, that’s going to be us.’ I’m glad I could be a man of my word.”
How much weight do you put in momentum and the battle coming up at Homestead?
“You just have to have things kind of fall into place and kind of go your way. Not everything has to, but just a little bit. We’ve had an awesome year and the way that we’ve been able to perform and how we’ve been able to do things in this Playoff, it hasn’t quite been pretty all the time, but we did what we needed to do in key moments. Last week was a tough week for us, but we’ve got this week now and if momentum is anything, obviously we’re ready to go. We’ll rock and roll into Homestead and it feels pretty good.”
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday, Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The final race of the 10-race playoffs starts at 2:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC.