|Monster Energy/Haas Automation Driver Still Seventh in Points|
|Date: July 7, 2018
Event: Coke Zero Sugar 400 (Round 18 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile superspeedway)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (40 laps/40 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish: 23rd/37th (Accident, completed 53 of 168 laps)
Point Standing: 7th (566 points, 183 out of first)
Note: Race extended eight laps past its scheduled 160-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. of Roush-Fenway Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. of Roush-Fenway Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-40):
● Kurt Busch started 23rd, finished sixth and scored five bonus points.
● The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion was a little tight early on.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 41-80):
● Started third, finished 37th.
● On lap 43, Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure and wedge adjustment.
● While running second on lap 53, Busch was involved in a multicar accident, and the damaged racecar was unable to continue.
● Busch finished sixth in Stage 1 to earn five bonus points.
● Erik Jones won the Coke Zero Sugar 400 to score his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr., was .125 of a second.
● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 46 laps.
● Only 13 of the 40 drivers in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 finished on the lead lap, with 20 drivers unable to finish after being collected in accidents.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I was running in the high lane, and I just have to giggle, there’s no safe spot. I thought being in the top-two or -three is pretty safe, but we just got clipped from behind. Usually, there’s that danger zone that everybody knows about from third to 12th, and we didn’t get strung out enough to get away from some of the action. It’s a bummer night for Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford. It was fast. We put her on the bottom at the end of Stage 1 to gain some points, but now we’ve got nothing. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I do have to giggle. There’s no safe spot out there.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Kentucky 400 on Saturday, July 14 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The race begins at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage beginning at 6 p.m. on NBCSN.