Kentucky

Race Recap for the Quaker State 400

Date: July 8, 2017
Event: Quaker State 400 (Round 18 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 1st/5th (Running, completed 274 of 274 laps)
Point Standing: 3rd (609 points, 101 out of first)

Race Winner:      Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota) in overtime

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 1-80):

● Kyle Busch started first, finished second.

● Busch, who started from the pole, settled into a comfortable pace at the front of the field, leading the first 67 laps.

● As the end of Stage 1 neared, Busch’s car was too loose on entry and exit to the corner.

● On lap 68, fellow Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. got by Busch, as the No. 18 driver said that Truex seemed to be able to turn the front end of his car better.

● After finishing second in Stage 1, Busch came down pit road for the first second time on lap 83.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● Busch started second, finished second.

● The SNICKERS driver started second in Stage 2 but did not stay there for very long, as he drove back by Truex on lap 88.

● Truex was able to get back by Busch on lap 133, and Busch settled into second for the remainder of Stage 2.

 The Las Vegas native pitted after Stage 2 on lap 160 for four tires and an air pressure adjustment.

 With two cars staying out and several cars taking only two tires, Busch came off pit road behind six other cars.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):

● Busch started eighth, finished fifth.

● Busch restarted in eighth at the start of Stage 3 and found that the car’s handling was much tougher back in traffic, really tight when turning.

● The 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champ dropped to as low as ninth, but he began gaining ground back around lap 195 and had worked his way back up to fifth by lap 201.

● Busch moved up to second, but Kyle Larson was able to sneak by the No. 18 lap 244.

● As the laps wound down, Busch looked as if he would finish third, but the caution waved with just two laps to go.

● Crew chief Adam Stevens called Busch down pit road on lap 267 for left-side tires.

● Busch restarted second on the final restart, but with several cars behind him taking four tires, he slipped to fifth by the time the race ended. 

Notes:

● Busch led three times for a total of 112 laps.

● The finish was Busch’s seventh top-five result of 2017.

● This is Busch’s fifth top-five and sixth top-10 finish at Kentucky in just seven starts.

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

“We had a pretty good SNICKERS Camry. Track position was important, and the car was really tight back in traffic. We tried to take two left-side tires on the last stop, and we just couldn’t quite do what I wanted to on the last restart. We’ll take the top-five and move on to New Hampshire.” 

Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Overton’s 301 on Sunday, July 16 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN.

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