|Date: Sept. 30, 2018
Event: Bank of America Roval 400 (Round 29 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval (2.28-mile, 17-turn road course)
Format: 109 laps, broken into three stages (25 laps/25 laps/59 laps)
Start/Finish: 1st/5th (Running, completed 109 of 109 laps)
Point Standing: 7th (3,014 points, advances to Round of 12)
Race Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Gannasi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-25):
● Kurt Busch started on the pole and finished second, earning nine bonus points.
● The No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion driver lead the first seven laps before being passed by Kyle Larson.
● Said the car was a bit tight early on, but the handling was OK.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 26-50):
● Busch started 23rd and finished third, earning eight bonus points.
● The No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion driver pitted on lap 27 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. Said the car was lacking forward bite.
● Said the car now was lacking left-rear grip.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 51-109):
● Busch started 21st, finished fifth.
● Busch pitted on lap 52 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.
● On lap 70, Busch pitted for four tires and fuel. He was in ninth place.
● Busch pitted on lap 102 for four tires and fuel.
● He was 10th with five laps to go, but he advanced three spots and then gained two more spots to finish fifth after Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr., who were first and second, wrecked in the last turn.
● This was Busch’s fifth top-five and 18th top-10 of 2018.
● Busch earned his 11th top-five and 20th top-10 in 37 career road-course starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series across Sonoma, Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Roval.
● Busch captured his eighth top-five and 14th top-10 in 37 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Charlotte (oval and road course).
● Busch finished second in Stage 1 to earn nine bonus points and third in Stage 2 to earn an additional eight bonus points.
● Busch led twice for seven laps to increase his laps-led total at Charlotte to 631 (oval and road course) and to 270 on road courses.
● Ryan Blaney won the inaugural Bank of America Roval 400 to score his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory and his first of 2018. His margin of victory over second-place Jamie McMurray was .792 of a second.
● Blaney’s triumph delivered the 104th points-paying victory for Ford’s Fusion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It was also Ford’s 673rd all-time win in the NASCAR Cup Series.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 16 laps.
● Twenty-six of the 40 drivers in the Bank of America Roval 400 finished on the lead lap.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I thought we did as good a job at communicating as a team and working together through all the different obstacles all weekend. The only thing that went against us is I had a bad restart on the outside lane once and I lost four or five spots, and that’s when we were hanging out with the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) most of the day, so that means Billy Scott (crew chief) chose the right strategy. I just lost three or four spots on that one restart, and then we gained some back on the next one, but too far. You’ve got to be like top-four or top-six if you want a shot at it, and we were just a little bit too far behind at the end. All in all, maybe we got the most points out of today, because we were second in the first stage, third in the second stage, so a lot of points today. We had to race that way, but the race almost came to us at the end. I’m more confident in Dover and Talladega and Kansas. We tested Kansas this week. It’s been a long week. It’s been busy, but that’s what it’s all about when it’s playoff time. Thanks to everybody on this team from Haas and Monster, Ford. A Ford won today. That’s excellent. A Ford won yesterday. That’s pretty special when you come to a brand new track.”
Playoff Standing (at the conclusion of the Round of 16):
1. Kyle Busch (3,055 points)
2. Kevin Harvick (3,050 points, -5)
3. Martin Truex Jr. (3,038 points, -17)
4. Brad Keselowski (3,025 points, -30)
5. Clint Bowyer (3,015 points, -40)
6. Joey Logano (3,014 points, -41)
7. Kurt Busch (3,014 points, -41)
8. Ryan Blaney (3,013 points, -42)
9. Chase Elliott (3,008 points, -47)
10. Kyle Larson (3,006 points, -49)
11. Aric Almirola (3,001 points, -54)
12. Alex Bowman (3,000 points, -55)
Failed to Advance to Round of 12:
13. Jimmie Johnson (2,097 points)
14. Austin Dillon (2,066 points)
15. Denny Hamlin (2,053 points)
16. Erik Jones (2,041 points)
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Gander Outdoors 400 on Sunday, Oct. 7 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN.