Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):
● Bowyer started 26th and finished 12th.
● Climbed to 20th after four laps.
● Bowyer radioed crew chief Mike Bugarewicz on lap 15 that his No. 14 ITsavvy Ford Mustang was tight in the middle of the corners.
● During a caution on lap 41, Bowyer pitted for four tires, fuel, a right-rear wedge adjustment and a tire pressure adjustment.
● Bowyer restarted in 13th place and climbed to 12th by lap 50.
● Cracked top-10 on lap 55.
● Another caution on lap 66 allowed Bowyer to pit again for four tires, fuel and another right-rear wedge adjustment.
● Bowyer restarted in 16th place and rallied to 12th by the end of the stage.
● Bowyer stayed out at the end of the stage, earning valuable track position.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):
● Bowyer started fourth and finished second, collecting nine bonus points.
● Drove to second place on restart and stayed there through the remainder of the stage.
● Pitted for four tires and fuel with a slight tire pressure adjustment at end of stage. Maintained second place.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 151-312):
● Bowyer started second and finished 11th.
● Held off Martin Truex Jr., on lap-166 restart to maintain second place.
● Caution on lap 193 allowed leaders to pit. Bowyer took only four fresh tires and fuel, but came off pit road in fourth place.
● Grabbed third place on lap-195 restart.
● Caution on lap 220 sent leaders to pit road. Bowyer again took only four new tires and fuel. Some other drivers stayed out, some took two tires, some went with fuel only. These varying pit strategies placed Bowyer 12th for the lap-226 restart.
● A flurry of restarts led to a flurry of cautions between laps 220-238. Bowyer restarted 20th for lap-239 restart after pitting for four ties and fuel on lap 235.
● With less than 60 laps to go and mired in traffic while running 15th, Bowyer reported that his No. 14 ITsavvy Ford Mustang was loose.
● Bowyer methodically picked up positions in the final 50 laps, rising to 12th with 20 laps to go before grabbing 11th in the final 10 laps.
● Bowyer earned his third straight top-15 finish of the season and 13th top-15 in 28 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at ISM Raceway.
● Kyle Busch won the TicketGuardian 500k to score his 52nd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his third at ISM Raceway. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was 1.259 seconds.
● There were nine caution periods for a total of 67 laps.
● Only 16 of the 36 drivers in the TicketGuardian 500k finished on the lead lap.
● Busch leaves ISM Raceway as the championship leader with a six-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 ITsavvy Ford Mustang:
“Those restarts really hurt us. We lost track position and it was so hard to get it back. Our ITsavvy Ford Mustang made its presence known, though, especially in the second stage. We didn’t qualify well, and we worked all weekend to get better – which we did. Just would’ve liked to have had a better result to show for all of our effort.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 17 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 3 p.m.