Race Recap for the Quaker State 400
Date: July 14, 2018
Event: Quaker State 400 (Round 19 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: 5th/4th (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 1st (799 points, 59 ahead of second)
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
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 fifth, finished third.
● Busch started the race in the top-five and slowly worked his way up through the field over the first stage of the race.
● The SNICKERS Intense Flavors driver was battling a car that was too tight, especially in turns one and two.
● Crew chief Adam Stevens made air pressure changes during the first stop of the day on lap 38. Once the entire field made stops, Busch found himself in third by lap 64, and that’s where he finished Stage 1.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
● Busch started fifth, finished second.
● The SNICKERS Intense Flavors driver came to the attention of the No. 18 team following Stage 1. The crew made some pretty significant changes to his Toyota Camry, pulling a spring rubber and making a wedge change.
● Busch dropped several spots to sixth following the restart. The caution waved on lap 109, and he came to pit road on lap 110.
● Quick two-tire service by the SNICKERS team helped him gain four spots on pit road to restart second on lap 114.
● Busch was able to hold the runner-up spot for the remainder of the stage, despite some competition from Ryan Blaney behind him.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):
● Busch started third, finished fourth.
● Busch restarted third at the beginning of the final stage, but he quickly had issues on the restart, as the pack of cars got him loose coming out of turn two and then sideways again in between turns three and four. Busch dropped to ninth on the lap immediately following the restart.
● The 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champ dug in from there and slowly worked his way back up through the field, finding himself sixth when the caution waved again on lap 208.
● The SNICKERS Intense Flavors over-the-wall team performed another strong stop on lap 209, vaulting Busch up three spots back to third on the ensuing restart.
● The race went caution free for the remainder of the 400-mile race. Busch settled into fourth for much of the final run and crossed the finish line with another top-five finish on the season and at Kentucky.
● The finish was Busch’s 13th top-five result of 2018.
● This is Busch’s sixth top-five and seventh top-10 finish at Kentucky in just eight starts.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 SNICKERS Intense Flavors Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“We look at the same sheet of paper the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) does every week, and we just didn’t have anything for them tonight. I don’t know what we were missing, but the SNICKERS Intense Flavors Camry was good, it was a top-five car. I thought it was a top-two car there for awhile, but the 12 (Blaney) was really strong. It kind of depended where people lined up on a restart. But overall a decent night for us; we made a few points on the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and lost some of our lead to the 78. We’ll just keep plugging along and try to hold onto this points lead.”
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on Sunday, July 22 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN.