Talladega

Race Recap for the Geico 500

Date: May 7, 2017

Event: Geico 500 (Round 10 of 36)

Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval)

Format: 188 laps, broken into three stages (55 laps/55 laps/78 laps)

Start/Finish: 10th/3rd (Running, completed 191 of 191 laps)

Point Standing: 10th (277 points, 151 out of first)

Race Winner: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. of Roush Fenway Racing (Ford) in overtime

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Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-55):

● Started 10th, finished third.

● Busch raced as high as third within the first 10 laps of the race.

● The Skittles America Mix driver made his way to the lead by lap 28 but gave up the top spot on lap 33 to get debris off of the nose of his Toyota Camry.

● He noted a tight-handling condition throughout the stage.

● Busch led once during Stage 1 for a total of six laps.

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Stage 2 Recap (Laps 56-110):

● Started third, finished 24th.

● Busch jumped to the second spot on the Stage 2 restart. He held his position consistently throughout the first portion of the stage.

● The Skittles America Mix driver battled for the lead on lap 79 beside teammate Denny Hamlin, earning the top spot on lap 81.

● During the lap-82 caution period, Busch noted that the handling had improved, but his Toyota Camry was still tight.

● Busch was shuffled back in the last five laps of Stage 2 after moving to the high line without receiving drafting help.

● He visited pit road at the conclusion of Stage 2 for four tires and fuel.

● Busch led once during Stage 2 for a total of three laps.

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Stage 3 Recap (Laps 111-188):

● Started 18th, finished third.

● The Skittles America Mix team pitted under green on lap 145 for right-side tires and fuel.

 As green-flag stops cycled through, Busch gained the lead on lap 152 working with teammate Hamlin.

● During the lap-160 caution period, the Skittles America Mix team opted not to pit to retain the lead.

● Busch was able to avoid the 18-car accident on lap 169 as he ran in the top spot.

● On lap 186, a final caution was brought out to push the race into overtime.

● Busch restarted the final green-flag run in the lead and battled in the top-three before the conclusion of the race.

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Notes:

● The Geico 500 marked Busch’s third top-five of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.                                                                                                

● It was his sixth top-five and seventh top-10 finish at Talladega Superspeedway in 24 starts at the 2.66-mile track.

● The red flag during Stage 3 lasted 26 minutes and 51 seconds.

● Busch’s third-place finish was the highest among the Toyota's in Sunday afternoon’s race.

● Busch led a race-high 48 laps in route to his top-five finish, while JGR teammate Hamlin (11th) led 43 laps.

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Skittles America Mix Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

How did you feel about the performance today at Talladega?

“(Ricky) Stenhouse got a really good run and a good push to get by us there, and then it was just about trying to get back past him after he got around me. I just never had enough help from behind and never got together. I just can’t say enough about this Skittles America Mix Camry – it was really fast. The guys at Joe Gibbs Racing and TRD did a great job with everyone on this motor; it was awesome. We did all we could here today, and it’s all circumstantial on how you win these things. Unfortunately, the circumstances didn’t quite go our way.”

Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Go Bowling 400 on Saturday, May 13 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.

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