Race Recap for the FireKeepers Casino 400
Date: June 18, 2017
Event: FireKeepers Casino 400 (Round 15 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (2-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish: 4th/7th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 3rd (510 points, 130 out of first)
Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):
● Kyle Busch started fourth, finished third.
● Busch started the race just on the loose side, yet he sat comfortably in third place for a majority of the first stage.
● The driver of the M&M’S Red, White, and Blue Toyota came to pit road at the end of the stage for tires and a wedge adjustment, then restarted third at the beginning of Stage 2.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):
● Busch started third, finished second.
● The wedge adjustment was not to Busch’s liking, so interim crew chief Ben Beshore took the adjustment back on the No. 18’s third pit stop of the day on lap 112, as the car’s handling started off tight and then turned to loose later in the run.
● Busch pitted eight laps prior to the end of the Stage 2 and made a strong move around Kyle Larson on the last lap of the stage to sit second at the lap-120 stage break.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 121-200):
● Busch started second, finished seventh.
● The 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion hung in the runner-up spot until lap 151, when a caution waved for an accident.
● Beshore called Busch down pit road for two tires and a can of fuel, and it put Busch in the lead off pit road.
● Busch maintained the lead following the restart and pulled away from second-place Larson.
● Despite inheriting the lead, the M&M’S Red, White, and Blue driver had to also save fuel, running just at the number on fuel to make it all the way to the end.
● With 16 laps to go the caution waved and bunched up the field. On the restart, Busch was passed by Larson and continued to drop a few spots as he restarted in the non-preferred bottom lane.
● When the checkered flag dropped, Busch crossed the line in seventh, a disappointing result to a day that looked to have so much promise with less than 20 laps to go.
● Busch led three times for a total of 40 laps.
● This is Busch’s seventh top-10 finish in 25 career Cup Series starts at the 2-mile oval.
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Toyota/Save Mart 350k on Sunday, June 25 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.