Haas Automation/Monster Energy Driver Enters Playoffs as 12th Seed in 16-Driver Field
Date: Sept. 9, 2017
Event: Federated Auto Parts 400 (Round 26 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Richmond (Va.) Raceway (.75-mile oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into three stages (100 laps/100 laps/200 laps)
Start/Finish: 3rd/4th (Running, completed 404 of 404 laps)
Point Standing: 12th (2,005 points, 48 points out of first – IN THE PLAYOFFS)
Note: Race ended in overtime, going four laps past its scheduled 400-lap distance
Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-100):
- Kurt Busch started third, finished 10th. Earned one bonus point.
- First pit stop came during a caution on lap 36. Right-rear and left-rear wedge adjustments were made during four-tire stop.
- “That was a nasty restart. I just had no forward bite,” said Busch when race went back to green.
- By lap 58, Busch reported his No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford was tight in the center of the corners.
- This condition only worsened as the stage continued, with Busch saying the car was “plowing tight in the center and loose off.”
- Caution on lap 88 allowed another pit stop. Right-rear wedge adjustment from previous stop was reversed. Restarted 14th.
- Rallied to finish the stage in 10th.
- Pitted at end of stage for four tires and fuel with right-front tire pressure adjustment.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 101-200):
- Started 14th, finished eighth. Earned three bonus points.
- Rose to 10th by lap 150, with crew chief Tony Gibson telling Busch he had the second-best car on the racetrack.
- Methodically gained positions throughout the stage, ultimately finishing eighth.
- Pitted at end of stage for four tires and fuel with tire pressure adjustments and a right-rear wedge adjustment.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 201-400):
- Started eighth, finished fourth.
- Ran among top-five before lap-257 caution sent everyone to pit road.
- After pitting for four tires and fuel on lap 258, Busch restarted fourth and even challenged for the lead with Kyle Larson.
- Settled back into fourth place by lap 270.
- Was running third with 100 laps to go, behind leader Martin Truex Jr. and second-place Larson.
- Green-flag pit stops began with 80 laps remaining and Busch rose to second by lap 330.
- Busch made his green-flag pit stop on lap 334 for four fresh tires and fuel.
- With 50 laps to go, Busch was eighth. He continued making up ground, rising to third when the caution came out on lap 398.
- Busch made his final pit stop on lap 399, whereupon he took four new tires for the green-white-checkered finish.
- Came home fourth in two-lap scramble to the finish.
- This was Busch’s 34th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Richmond and his 602nd career start.
- Busch’s fourth-place finish in the Federated Auto Parts 400 was his seventh top-five and 15th top-10 at Richmond and his second fifth top-five and 13th top-10 this season.
- There were seven caution periods for a total of 38 laps.
- Nineteen of the 39 cars finished on the lead lap.
- Larson won the Federated Auto Parts 400 to score his fifth career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fourth of the season and his first at Richmond. Joey Logano finished second as the race ended under caution.
- Truex heads into the 10-race playoffs as the championship leader with a 20-point advantage over second-place Larson.
- Busch qualified for the playoffs by virtue of his Feb. 26 win in the Daytona 500.
- Busch takes five bonus points into the playoffs thanks to his Daytona 500 victory.
- This is Busch’s fifth consecutive playoff appearance and his 11th overall. He won the championship in 2004.
1. Martin Truex Jr. (2,053 points)
2. Kyle Larson (2,033 points, -20)
3. Kyle Busch (2,029 points, -24)
4. Brad Keselowski (2,019 points, -34)
5. Jimmie Johnson (2,017 points, -36)
6. Kevin Harvick (2,015 points, -38)
7. Denny Hamlin (2,013 points, -40)
8. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2,010 points, -43)
9. Ryan Blaney (2,008 points, -45)
10. Chase Elliott (2,006 points, -47)
11. Ryan Newman (2,005 points, -48)
12. Kurt Busch (2,005 points, -48)
13. Kasey Kahne (2,005 points, -48)
14. Austin Dillon (2,005 points, -48)
15. Matt Kenseth (2,005 points, -48)
16. Jamie McMurray (2,003 points, -50)
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Our Fords are fast and now we’re finding this handling balance. I’m really proud of everybody at SHR for working hard, knowing we were kind of going into unknown territory, but we got it switched over and thanks to Doug Yates, Tony Stewart, Gene Haas, Haas Automation and Monster Energy – they’ve been with me the last six years and it’s great to see them as the entitlement sponsor of our series, but it’s also great to carry their logo on our car and have all of their vendors at the track. We’re having a Monster time. We’re in the playoffs and now we’re gonna go execute for these 10 weeks.
“We’re doing everything right on the 41 car, and we can do better in some categories. Our long-run speed was really good tonight and that last green-white-checker I knew there was gonna be chaos. We missed it on the setup early on, making the wrong changes, and then we backed it up and, to be honest with you, I think we ended up with what we unloaded with on Friday in this car right now, so those are some good signs heading into the playoffs.
“We poured everything in it after the off week and we did a lot of research to figure out where we were off a little bit, and I’m just happy with Ford and Monster Energy and with Haas Automation, everybody at Stewart-Haas just pushing to find more. You can’t be complacent in this series.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Tales of the Turtles 400 on Sunday, Sept. 17 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. It is the first race of the 10-race playoffs and it starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN.