Thursday, Feb 09

Kyle Busch, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry Race Recap for the Foxwoods Casino Resort 301

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)



Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

Started third, finished sixth.

● The Interstate Batteries Toyota team opted not to pit during the lap-15 caution period despite a lack of mobility from its car.

● The next caution came shortly after on lap 20, where Busch noted his handling was “very bad.”

● Busch restarted third on lap 25, making a quick jump to second behind leader Kurt Busch.

● Kyle Busch fell to third on lap 29, but the Interstate Batteries team noted strong lap times by lap 35.

● During the competition caution Busch reported the car was lacking right-rear lateral grip. The Interstate Batteries crew serviced his Toyota with four tires, fuel and adjustments to assist handling. Due to only a handful of cars pitting, Busch was shuffled midpack for the restart.

● The Las Vegas native raced his way back into the top-10 on lap 46 and was ninth on lap 50.

● The caution was displayed for debris on lap 53 while Busch was in the eighth position. The team opted not to pit during the quick caution, and Busch was able to work his way up to fifth on the restart.

● Ultimately, Busch finished Stage 1 in sixth, but he noted that the handling was still difficult to manage on exit.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):

Started fourth, finished sixth.

● The Interstate Batteries Toyota team gained two spots on pit road after taking four tires and fuel following the conclusion of Stage 1.

Busch settled into third on the restart and maintained that position until lap 102, when he reported losing grip around the track and dropped to the fifth spot.

The 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion raced inside the top-five for 40 additional laps and finished the stage in sixth.


Stage 3 Recap (Laps 151-301):

Started 11th, finished second.

Busch’s Interstate Batteries team serviced his Toyota with big changes after Stage 2 to assist with the car’s handling. and Busch restarted the final stage in 11th.

Busch was able to maneuver his way up into the top-five by lap 169, passing driver Kevin Harvick.

Busch was told his Toyota Camry was the fastest car on track at lap 180 as he moved into the fourth position.

The Interstate Batteries driver reported that he was pleased with the handling as it fired up in the stage, but with 100 laps remaining he was struggling with the handling heading into the turns, and he dropped to the fifth spot.

Busch came in for a scheduled green-flag stop with 75 laps remaining in the race and cycled up to third with 68 laps to go.

During the lap-257 caution period, the Interstate Batteries team won the race off of pit road and took the lead for the ensuing restart.

Busch fought off Harvick for the lead on the restart, but after a bump heading into the turn, the Cup Series points leader was relegated to second place.


Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

“Our Interstate Batteries Camry just wasn’t there – it wasn’t there all weekend. We kept fighting the same things all weekend long, and we never make any gains on it all through practice, and we kind of struggled with it through the race. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) made some really, really good calls – some really good adjustments to just try to keep improving on it. My pit crew was flawless. They gained us all those spots on pit road to get us out front to get us in that position, to have a shot to go after the win. And, you know, we controlled the restart and drove away by a little bit, but we weren’t the best car on the long run. All them SHR (Stewart-Haas Racing) cars were really, really good today. They were all fast, so it was going to be hard to hold them off, and I was just kind of backing up and, you know, three, four, five corners in a row and with a faster car, I’m not sure he (Harvick) had to do it, but he did. It’s fine. How you race is how you get raced, so it’s fine.”


Team Interstate Results:

● Kyle Busch finished 2nd.

Denny Hamlin finished 13th.

● Erik Jones finished 16th.

● Daniel Suarez finished 22nd.


Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Gander Outdoors 400 on Sunday, July 29 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN beginning at 2 p.m.




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