|Monster Energy/Haas Automation Driver Now Fifth in Points|
|Date: April 29, 2018
Event: GEICO 500 (Round 10 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: 2nd /2nd (Running, completed 188 of 188 laps)
Point Standing: 5th (320 points, 127 out of first)
Race Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Paul Menard of Wood Brothers Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-55):
● Kurt Busch started second, finished 25th.
● The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion had a radio communication issue prior to the wave of the green flag. The crew easily fixed the problem, and Busch still started second.
● Busch was in second and pitted for fuel only on lap 13. Unfortunately, he was too fast on pit road and had to serve a pass-through penalty, relegating him to 38th.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 56-110):
● Started 21st and finished eighth, earning three bonus points.
● Busch pitted on lap 58 for four tires, fuel and wedge and tire pressure adjustments.
● On lap 67 Busch pitted for fuel only.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 111-188):
● Started ninth and finished second.
● Busch pitted on lap 113 for four tires and fuel.
● Under caution and while leading, Busch pitted on lap 129 for four tires and fuel.
● Busch pitted for fuel only on lap 145.
● The No. 41 was chasing leader Joey Logano on the final lap but could not get by him and finished in the runner-up spot.
● Logano won the GEICO 500 to score his 19th career Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his third at Talladega. His margin of victory over second-place Busch was .127 of a second.
● Ford took six of the top-10 finishing positions.
● There were six caution periods for a total of 29 laps.
● Twenty-two of the 40 drivers in the GEICO 500 finished on the lead lap.
● This was Busch’s first top-five and fourth top-10 finish of 2018.
● Busch earned his eighth top-five and 19th top-10 in 35 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega.
● Busch finished eighth in Stage 2 to earn three bonus points.
● Busch led once for five laps to increase his laps-led total at Talladega to 158.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We just needed the assistance from behind. The 17 (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) car was strong. All the Fords were great today. I was hoping he would get to us on the back straightaway so we could go on offense on the front to go win it, but it just didn’t materialize. I wanted to stay with (Kevin) Harvick, my teammate, and navigate around the 22 (Logano), but everyone behind kind of broke off and was racing too hard and nobody got that big head of steam to try to push through and break apart the 22’s lead. It was one of the best Fords I have ever had here, and it was fun to race it and lead some laps and be right there, but I just didn’t get the job done. The 22 out-foxed us and we didn’t get the push from behind to go on offense at the end, but a top-five day, so I can’t really complain. We had a great Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the AAA 400 Drive for Autism on Sunday, May 6 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 beginning with a prerace show at 1:30 p.m.