Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-20):
● Kyle Busch started first, finished first.
● Busch dominated Stage 1 of Sunday’s I LOVE NEW YORK 355k, leading all 20 laps.
● At the conclusion of Stage 1, Busch reported minor handling issues related to right-hand turns, with the car handling a little snug in the center of the turns and then loose at the exits. The team changed four tires, added fuel and made minor air pressure and chassis adjustments during the caution. Quick pit work enabled Busch to win the race off pit road.
● Upon returning to the track Busch quickly reported that it felt like the left-front wheel was loose. He brought the No. 18 M&M’S Caramel Toyota to pit road, where the team discovered that a lug nut had gotten wedged between the wheel and the caliper. The team changed four tires and Busch returned to the track in 32nd place.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 21-40):
● Busch started 32nd, finished ninth.
● The 2015 NASCAR Cup champion quietly logged laps and picked up positions throughout the duration of Stage 2. He was back in the top-15 by lap 32, cracked the top-10 just five laps later at lap 37 and was in ninth place by the time Stage 2 concluded.
● Exercising some strategy, the team elected to stay out between the second and third stages to maintain track position.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 41-90):
● Busch started ninth, finished seventh.
● A number of teams exercised the same strategy as the No. 18 M&M’S Caramel team, staying out between the second and third stages. Busch quickly went to work trying to make his way back to the lead.
● Misfortune struck quickly in Stage 3 as Busch was attempting to pass driver Brad Keselowski in the inner loop on lap 45. Keselowski misjudged the turn and made contact with the No. 18 car, sending it spinning. Busch was able to keep the No. 18 from sustaining too much damage but had to make a trip to pit road for four tires and fuel. By the time he returned to the track Busch was in 33rd place.
● A full-course caution on lap 51 allowed Busch to catch up to the field. He made a trip to pit road for four tires, fuel and minor adjustments. Quick pit work placed him in 24th place for the restart. He set to work again, driving through the field. By lap 60 he was up to 12th and was back among the top-10 on lap 63.
● Busch was able to race his way to seventh place by the time the checkered flag waved.
● Busch led one time for 21 laps.
● Busch won Stage 1 to score his ninth stage win of 2017.