|Haas Automation/Monster Energy Driver Now 10th in Points|
|Date: March 26, 2018
Event: Martinsville 500 (Round 6 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Start/Finish: 11th/11th (Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 10th (177 points, 80 behind leader Kyle Busch)
Race Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-130):
● Kurt Busch started 11th and finished eighth to collect three bonus points.
● The No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion was loose early on.
● On lap 52, Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 131-260):
● Started sixth, finished seventh to collect four bonus points.
● Said car lacked “forward bite.”
Final Stage Recap (Laps 261-500):
● Started eighth and finished 11th.
● Busch pitted on lap 265 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.
● After a quick caution, Busch pitted on lap 130 for four tires and fuel, running in 11th.
● Still trying to find a little rear grip as the race came to a close, Busch managed to secure a solid 11th-place finish while teammate Bowyer crossed the finish line first to score the win for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
● This was Busch’s fourth top-15 of 2018.
● Busch finished eighth in Stage 1 to collect three bonus points and seventh in Stage 2 to earn four additional bonus points.
● Bowyer’s victory in the Martinsville 500 marked the 47th overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s 43rd points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its fourth at Martinsville.
● This was SHR’s seventh Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.
● It was SHR’s fourth victory in the first six races of 2018, as Harvick scored back-to-back-to-back wins at the second, third and fourth events of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and ISM Raceway near Phoenix.
● This was the second time in five races that all four SHR cars finished in the top-14.
● There were four caution periods for a total of 33 laps.
● Fourteen of the 38 drivers in the Martinsville 500 finished on the lead lap.
● Bowyer’s margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was 1.146 seconds.
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, April 8 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.