Haas Automation/Monster Energy Driver Sees Potential Top-10 Turn Into 30th-Place Finish
Date: July 8, 2017
Event: Kentucky 400 (Round 18 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 274 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/114 laps)
Note: Race ended in overtime, going seven laps past its scheduled 267-lap distance
Start/Finish: 15th/30th (Axle, completed 264 of 274 laps)
Point Standing: 15th (419 points, 291 out of first)
Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
- Kurt Busch started 15th, finished 14th.
- Busch noted a tight-handling condition on his Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion along with a right-front tire vibration at the beginning of the stage.
- Busch stayed among the top-15 throughout stage.
- Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and wedge adjustments at the conclusion of the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
- Started 10th, finished seventh. Earned four bonus points.
- After a lap-95 caution, Busch opted not to pit and preserve his track position. He restarted in the seventh position.
- During a lap-138 caution, Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments to restart in the 14th position.
- Busch quickly drove back to the top-10 before the conclusion of the stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-274):
- Started 14th, finished 30th.
- Busch said his car was loose into the corners and tight off throughout the stage.
- Busch pitted under green-flag conditions for four tires, fuel and adjustments on lap 224. Returned to the race in 13th place.
- An axle seal leaked oil in the waning laps, leading to an axle failure on lap 266 that brought out the caution and sent Busch to the garage.
- This was Busch’s seventh Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Kentucky and his 594th career NASCAR Cup Series start.
- There were nine caution periods for a total of 39 laps.
- Only nine of the 40 drivers in the Kentucky 400 finished on the lead lap.
- Martin Truex Jr. won the Kentucky 400 to score his 10th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his first at Kentucky. Kyle Larson finished second as the race ended under caution.
- Larson continues to lead the championship standings with 710 points, but only has a one-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Truex.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I sputtered off of turn four and when I looked at the fuel gauge, it was fine. And then it was like everything was welding itself together. I was just trying to nurse it home and didn’t quite get all the way back. I think it just shucked the pinion and it had no power after that. It burned up a gear one lap from the finish. I hate that I’m that guy that jukes up the whole system with throwing a yellow with one to go. It was a long, green-flag run and I thought we were going to be okay with our Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford. Just a bummer. We didn’t need that one.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Overton’s 301 on Sunday, July 16 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN.