|Monster Energy/Haas Automation Driver Leads 108 Laps; Now Fourth in Points|
|Date: Oct. 14, 2018
Event: 1000Bulbs.com 500 (Round 31 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval)
Format: 188 laps, broken into three stages (55 laps/55 laps/78 laps)
Start/Finish: 1st/14th (Running, completed 193 of 193 laps)
Note: Race extended five laps past its scheduled 188-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kurt Busch of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-55):
● Kurt Busch started first and finished first, earned 10 bonus points and one playoff point.
● No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion pitted under caution on lap 12 while leading for fuel and a wedge adjustment.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 56-110):
● Busch started fourth and finished third, earned eight bonus points.
● Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment on lap 57.
● On lap 64, Busch pitted for fuel only and a wedge adjustment.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 111-188):
● Busch started 14th and finished 14th.
● The car was still tight, so Busch pitted on lap 112 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.
● By lap 130, Busch was up to second.
● Busch pitted on lap 138 for right side tires and fuel.Will restart first.
● The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation started on the front row on the restart on lap 191 and was leading on the final lap when an accident occurred in turn one. No caution was called and Busch ran out of fuel while leading on the backstretch and finished a disappointing 14th.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It was a very different Talladega for me. I really enjoyed leading the race, working with my teammates. I’m really happy a Stewart-Haas car won, but the four of us, I’ve never seen so much synergy. We knew we were going have to race when we got to Kansas. It would have been nice to have the win. We’re here to win. That’s what Monster Energy wants. Thanks to them. That’s what Team Haas wants. Thanks to Gene, Tony Stewart, everybody. But there were two human element calls there at the end. I don’t know why we ran an extra lap under yellow and why there wasn’t the yellow for a dispatch of an ambulance.”
● Busch finished first in Stage 1 to earn 10 bonus points and one playoff point, and third in Stage 2 to earn an additional eight bonus points.
● Busch led three times for 108 laps to increase his laps-led total at Talladega to 266.
● Almirola’s 1000Bulbs.com 500 victory was his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win, his first of the season and his first at Talladega. His margin of victory over second-place Bowyer was .105 of a second.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 32 laps.
● Twenty-nine of the 40 drivers in the 1000Bulbs.com 500 finished on the lead lap.
Playoff Standings (with one race to go before the Round of 8):
1. Kevin Harvick (3,128 points) +63 points
2. Kyle Busch (3,111 points) +46 points
3. Joey Logano (3,104 points) +39 points
4. Kurt Busch (3,095 points) +30 points
5. Aric Almirola (3,087 points) 1 win
6. Clint Bowyer (3,086 points) +21 points
7. Martin Truex Jr. (3,083 points) +18 points
8. Chase Elliott (3,066 points) 1 win
9. Brad Keselowski (3,065 points) -18
10. Ryan Blaney (3,061 points) -22 points
11. Kyle Larson (3,057 points) -26 points
12. Alex Bowman (3,015 points) -68 points
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, Oct. 21 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. It is the sixth race of the 10-race playoffs and the final race in the Round of 12. It starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage on NBC beginning at 1:30 p.m.