Race Recap for the Pennzoil 400
Date: Feb. 23, 2020
Event: Pennzoil 400 (Round 2 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 1st/15th (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 27th (25 points, 60 out of first)
Race Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Kyle Busch Started 35th, finished 15th.
● With qualifying rained out on Saturday, Busch inherited the first starting spot as the field was set by the 2019 Cup Series owner points. However, a penalty from opening day inspection sent Busch to the rear of the field to start the 267-lap scheduled distance.
● The SNICKERS White Camry wasted no time moving up through the field, as Busch found himself in 23rd place by lap 10 and into the top-20 by lap 20. But the Las Vegas native still seemed to struggle with the handling as dirty air in traffic made it difficult to move as quickly up through the field as he would have hoped.
● Busch radioed crew chief Adam Stevens that the rear of the car kicked out if he drove it too far into the corner, with also a tight condition in the center of the corner.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
● Busch Started 12th, finished 10th.
● He came to pit road following Stage 1 on lap 83 to take on four tires, tape on the grill and a wedge adjustment. Quick work by the SNICKERS White over-the-wall team vaulted him to restart 12th to start Stage 2.
● Busch settled into 11th once the restart got sorted out and inched his way into the top-10 for the first time on lap 118.
● Busch radioed to Stevens that his balance was good, but that his car’s front splitter was touching the track, causing a tight condition.
● The Las Vegas native came to pit road on lap 122, taking four tires and fuel only, and came back out 10th, where he finished Stage 2.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):
● Busch started sixth, finished 15th.
● The SNICKERS White driver restarted sixth for the final stage but fell to ninth by lap 171 and outside the top-10 by lap 195.
● Busch radioed to Stevens that his car lacked grip. He was running in 11th when the caution waved on lap 218.
● Busch came to pit road on lap 226, with Stevens and the SNICKERS White crew making changes to address the handling issues.
● The 2019 Cup Series champion restarted 14th and soon moved back up to 11th, saying the car was the best it had been all day.
● With just six laps remaining, the caution waved a final time. Stevens called Busch to pit road for four tires. He restarted in 15th, but just as the leaders took the white flag, a caution waved, freezing the field. Busch had to settle for a disappointing 15th place finish.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 SNICKERS White Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“It was a struggle for us all day. We were hoping we would have a better day for sure. Our SNICKERS White Camry was better there at the end, but we just ran out of the laps to have a shot at a better finish. We’ll just regroup and hope we can have a better race at Fontana next weekend.”
Next Up: The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 1, at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX.