Race Recap for the Gander Outdoors 400
Date: Oct. 7, 2018
Event: Gander Outdoors 400 (Round 30 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/8th (Running, completed 404 of 404 laps)
Point Standing: 2nd (3,096 points, 63 ahead of cutoff)
Note: Race extended four laps past its scheduled 400-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-120):
● Kyle Busch started first, finished third.
● Busch started first by virtue of his position as the points leader with qualifying rained out on Friday afternoon.
● The Interstate Batteries driver held the top spot for the first 15 laps before Kevin Harvick made his way around Busch on lap 16.
● Busch settled into the third position for much of the first green-flag run of the race. He radioed to crew chief Adam Stevens that he needed more turn from the center through the exit of the corner.
● On lap 70, Busch radioed again that he needed to pit immediately because he felt an issue with a tire. He came down pit road on lap 71 to take on four new tires and a wedge adjustment. Fortunately, the stop didn’t hurt Busch’s track position, as many of the frontrunners also pitted within five laps of him.
● The Interstate Batteries driver settled back into third and finished the first stage there to collect eight bonus points.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 121-240):
● Started third, finished seventh.
● During the stage break, Busch reported that his trackbar switch wasn’t working, leaving him without an important tool in the racecar to deal with changing track conditions throughout the race.
● On lap 123, Busch pitted during the stage break for four tires and an air pressure adjustment.
● Busch restarted the second stage in third but slowly fell through the field as he was unable to adjust the trackbar to keep up with the racetrack conditions, falling to seventh by lap 155 and ninth by lap 164.
● Busch fell through the field to as low as ninth, but he moved his way back up to seventh by the end of the second stage.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 241-400):
● Started 13th, finished eighth.
● The 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion was called to pit road following the second stage. Since he was seventh and there were only 13 cars on the lead lap, Stevens elected to work on the trackbar adjuster. The team suspected the system had come unhooked behind the monitor.
● The Interstate Batteries driver restarted 13th on lap 246, but the No. 18 fell through the field again, although Busch reported the car was as aero-tight handling as it could be.
● Busch pitted on lap 322 to take on a wedge adjustment and air pressure changes, but he was too fast entering the pits and had to serve a drive-through penalty.
● The penalty put Busch a lap down to the leaders until the caution waved on lap 343 with Interstate Batteries driver sitting in 15th place.
● Busch was able to take the wave-around prior to the next restart, positioned 13th on lap 392. A huge accident in front of him helped Busch move up to restart 10th for overtime laps following a red flag. He moved the Interstate Batteries Camry up two more spots on the final two laps to salvage a top-10 finish during a very tough day for Busch and the No. 18 team.
● Busch’s eighth-place finish was his 24th top-10 of 2018 and his 17th top-10 at Dover in 28 starts at the mile oval.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“It worked in our favor a bit today with some other cars getting torn up, which is unfortunate for them. Our day was not very good with our Interstate Batteries Camry. Speeding on pit road took us out of the running for a top-10 and a solid finish, but we ended up getting some good luck on stuff happening to some other guys and we were able to salvage our day. We’ll take it and move on to Talladega and try to get better here the next time around.”
Team Interstate Results:
● Denny Hamlin finished second.
● Erik Jones finished fourth.
● Kyle Busch finished eighth.
● Daniel Suarez finished 10th.
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the 1000Bulbs.com 500 on Sunday, Oct. 14 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC.