Race Recap for the Overton's 301
Date: July 16, 2017
Event: Overton’s 301 (Round 19 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (1.058-mile oval)
Format: 301 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/151 laps)
Start/Finish: 7th/12th (Running, completed 301 of 301 laps)
Point Standing: 3rd (650 points, 108 out of first)
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):
● Started seventh, finished fifth.
● Busch started the race from seventh place and cracked the top-five within the opening laps, racing to fourth place by lap four and third by lap 10.
● The Interstate Batteries racecar was in third place when the competition caution was displayed on lap 35. The team elected to pit for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to help overcome a tight-handling condition reported by Busch.
● Busch was in fourth place during a restart on lap 41 following the second caution of the race. He made an aggressive move to climb to second place. He maintained the position until the third caution on lap 67. Despite the caution coming out so close to the conclusion of Stage 1, Busch and a number of other drivers elected to stop for fresh tires. Racing resumed with only two laps remaining in Stage ● The Las Vegas native was able to pick up five positions to finish Stage 1 in fifth place and earn six bonus points.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):
● Started first, finished first.
● Because Busch had only run two green-flag laps on his tires, the team elected to stay out during the stage break. The decision placed the Interstate Batteries Toyota in first place for the start of Stage 2.
● The start of Stage 2 was delayed as NASCAR officials had to make repairs to the track in turns three and four where a significant hole had developed in the upper lane. To make repairs NASCAR elected to display the red flag and brought all cars to rest on pit road.
● Green-flag racing resumed on lap 84 with Busch firmly in the lead – a position he maintained to the end of the stage.
● Busch was fairly quiet on the radio throughout the duration of Stage 2, reporting toward the end that the car was handling on the loose side but trended to the tight side at the center of the turns.
● At the conclusion of Stage 2 the team changed four tires, added fuel and made both air pressure and wedge adjustments. A problem during the pit stop – the car came off the jack – resulted in Busch losing a handful of positions for the start of the final stage.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 151-301):
● Started fourth, finished 12th.
● Being able to restart from the outside lane was a clear advantage on Sunday in New Hampshire, and Busch leveraged that position to jump to second place by the time the field completed the first lap of the final stage. While the Interstate Batteries Toyota was fast, Busch was unable to hold off the fast-closing car of Martin Truex Jr., which passed him on lap 164. Busch settled into a comfortable pace in third place, taking care of his equipment and biding his time until a little later in the race.
● The 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion was able to take advantage of a bit of misfortune for Truex, who had a tire go down on lap 218. Truex’s trip to pit road handed the lead to Busch. He maintained the top spot for the next several laps.
● The Interstate Batteries team took its turn for green-flag pit stops on lap 233, surrendering the top spot for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. During his trip onto pit road, however, Busch was tagged with a speeding penalty. After serving a pass-through on pit road, Busch was scored in 15th place.
● Busch was able maintain a lead-lap position and raced his way back into the top-10 pretty quickly, reporting that the car was handling really well. He was in eighth place when the final caution of the day was displayed on lap 263. With an opportunity to still race for the win, the team elected to change four tires and add fuel. Busch came off pit road in seventh place but was tagged for another speeding penalty while entering pit road. Because the penalty took place during caution Busch had to restart at the tail end of the longest line in 26th place.
● The Interstate Batteries driver dug in and made his way through the field during the final 30 laps of the race. The effort resulted in him making his way to 12th place by the time the checkered flag waved.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“Our Interstate Batteries Toyota was fast today. I messed up a couple of times with getting the speeding penalties, and it pretty much cost us a chance for the win today. It’s disappointing, but we’ll look forward to getting to Indianapolis next week.”
Team Interstate Results:
● Denny Hamlin (first)
● Matt Kenseth (fourth)
● Daniel Suarez (sixth)
● Kyle Busch (12th)
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 23 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC.