Monster Energy/Haas Automation Driver Makes 600th Career Start; Now 13th in Points
Date: Aug. 19, 2017
Event: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race (Round 24 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533-mile, high-banked oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (125 laps/125 laps/250 laps)
Start/Finish: 25th/5th (Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 13th (586 points, 365 out of first)
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):
- Kurt Busch started 25th and finished 14th.
- The Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion was stuggling with right-side grip early on.
- Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment on lap 63.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):
- Busch started 21st and finished 12th.
- The Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion pitted on lap 129 for four tires, fuel and air and wedge adjustments.
- Due to Busch having to back up in his pit stall to leave, he restarted 21st.
- Busch indicated that the car was still tight.
- The No. 41 team came to pit road on lap 202 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure and wedge adjustment.
- On lap 239 Busch said the car was much better, and he pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 251-500):
- Busch started ninth and finished fifth.
- On lap 272 Busch made slight contact with the outside SAFER Barrier in turn four, but he was able to continue.
- As Busch was about to go down a lap on lap 353, a caution came out that enabled him to stay on the lead lap.
- On lap 355 Busch pitted for four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and repairs of the fender damage from the slight contact.
- Busch pitted on lap 397 while in ninth place for four tires and fuel.
- The move of the race came on lap 417 when Busch took the last set of sticker tires and fuel.
- There were no further cautions, and Busch worked his way up to his fifth-place finish.
- This was Busch’s 34th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Bristol and his 600th career NASCAR Cup Series start.
- Busch now has 17 top-five finishes at Bristol and this was his third top-five finish of the 2017 season.
- There were eight caution periods for a total of 53 laps.
- Fifteen of the 40 drivers in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race finished on the lead lap.
- Kyle Busch won the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race to score his 40th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his sixth at Bristol. His margin of victory over second-place Erik Jones was 1.422 seconds.
- Martin Truex Jr. leads the championship standings with 951 points and holds a 101-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Busch.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We’ve been struggling with the VHT on the bottom, so I just knew we needed to wait and wait and wait, and I was hopeful at lap 250 that it would come to us. I pushed it too hard then and got some right-front tire damage on the fender. We had to work through that, but I think at the end we got in position because Tony Gibson (crew chief) made a good call and put us on fresher tires than the competition, and it was the old fun Bristol for me. So I’m really proud of this Monster Energy Ford – to be first in class, to get a top-five in my 600th start and to see the lead with 50 to go.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Southern 500 on Sunday, Sept. 3 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The race starts at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90.