Race Recap: Hollywood Casino 400

Date: Oct. 22, 2017
Event: Hollywood Casino 400 (Round 32 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 7th/10th (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 2nd with 4,042 points, 27 out of first (ADVANCES to ROUND OF 8 of PLAYOFFS)

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

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

● Kyle Busch started seventh, finished first.

● Busch started the race in seventh but shot up quickly to third by the completion of lap one.

● The M&M’S Halloween Camry moved past Kevin Harvick for second on lap 26.

● Busch took the top spot on lap 40 when leader Martin Truex Jr. was penalized for a restart violation.

● After a pit stop on lap 50 for four tires and adjustments to address a slight loose-handling condition, Busch restarted seventh, but within two laps he was back to the lead.

● From there, Busch was able to stay out front and bring home a Stage 1 win, earning valuable points toward the playoff standings.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● Busch started first, finished fifth.

● The Las Vegas native began Stage 2 at the front of the field.

● The M&M’S Halloween Camry led the entire stage, which included a pit stop, until the caution waved with just three laps to go in the stage.

● Busch and crew chief Adam Stevens had a choice to make: either stay out for the one-lap shootout or pit for tires. They chose to pit on lap 158 and restarted fifth on lap 159.

● The M&M’S Halloween driver stayed in fifth for the one-lap shootout, bringing home a fifth-place finish in Stage 2.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):

● Busch started third, finished 10th.

● The M&M’S Halloween Toyota driver restarted third in Stage 3, as several cars pitted after staying out at the end of Stage 2.

● A multitude of cautions, included one for a multicar accident, shuffled the running order as Busch continued to lead on lap 185.

● Even with a fast car, strategy took a strange turn for Busch and the M&M’S Halloween team. With several cautions, Busch and fellow frontrunner Harvick stayed out, electing to keep track position. When the race had a long green-flag run, they were both forced to pit. However, not long after their pit stops, the caution waved for an accident involving AJ Allmendinger.

● Busch was trapped a lap down, and was forced to take the wave-around, as the leaders pitted and he stayed out. Busch restarted in 21st with 27 laps to go at the tail end of the longest line and methodically worked his way up through the field, picking off cars one by one. There were no more cautions to help him catch up, and he finished the race in 10th.


● Busch advanced to the Round of 8 of the NASCAR Playoffs by virtue of points solidified with his 10th-place finish. Starting next weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Busch will take his 42 playoffs points to the Round of 8 as the second seed behind Truex.

● Busch accumulated 10 stage points for winning Stage 1 and six stage points for winning Stage 2 for a total of 16 stage points.

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

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Halloween Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

“Our car was really, really awesome, and I’m fortunate to be in a good place with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota. This M&M’S Halloween Camry was fast, and I thought we had a good shot to go for the win today. We got off on tire strategy a little today. (Martin) Truex got by us, and he was checking out, but was just going to play it out, when we pitted and the rest of those guys pitted, where it would all shake out, but obviously that caution came out and it bit us and got us behind. Fortunately, our situation today was that we had to race guys that ended up crashing out; hate it for them. I would have liked to race it heads up, and that might have been a different situation But all in all we’ll take what was given to us today, and we’ll live to see another day next week going to Martinsville.”

Next Up: 

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the First Data 500 on Sunday, Oct. 29 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN.