Race Winner: Kurt Busch of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Kurt Busch of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Clint Bowyer started seventh and finished 18th.
● Bowyer reported his car would not turn like he needed as he quickly dropped to 14th.
● Crew pitted Bowyer on lap 41 ahead of the rest of the field hoping to take advantage of new tires and clean air.
● On lap 48 a caution came out trapping Bowyer a lap behind the leaders.
● Bowyer took the wave-around and returned to the lead lap but in 28th.
● The crew called him to pit lane under caution on lap 65 for four tires and fuel.
● Bowyer drove from 28th to 18th before the stage ended.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
● Started second and finished fifth to earn six bonus points.
● Because of his late stop in the first stage Bowyer had enough fuel and fresh tires to stay on the track during the stage break, and he restarted second.
● Bowyer held second in the early going of the stage before fresher tires dropped him to third.
● Bowyer pitted for tires and fuel on lap 134 under green.
● By the end of the stage, Bowyer had climbed back to fifth.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-269):
● Started first and finished sixth.
● Because of the late stop in the second stage, Bowyer had enough fuel and fresh tires to stay on the track during the stage break and start the final stage in first.
● The No. 14 held the lead in a side-by-side battle with Kurt Busch until Bowyer pitted on lap 206.
● The rest of the field pitted 10 to 15 laps later, and Bowyer returned to the eighth position.
● A caution in the final laps forced a green-white-checkered finish that saw Bowyer climb as high as fifth in the final laps but finish sixth.
● Bowyer earned his ninth top-10 of the season and his second top-10 in nine career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kentucky.
● Bowyer’s sixth-place result was just three spots shy of his previous best finish at Kentucky – third in June 2013.
● Since joining SHR in 2017, Bowyer has not finished outside the top-13 at Kentucky. He finished 12th in last year’s Kentucky 400.
● Bowyer led twice for 40 laps to score his first laps led at Kentucky.
● Kurt Busch won the Kentucky 400 to score his 31st career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Kentucky. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .076 of a second.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 35 laps.
● Only 16 of the 36 drivers in the Kentucky 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Joey Logano remains the championship leader after Kentucky with an 11-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.
“It was a positive night for us. We finally got some stage points the last two races. It didn’t start out good but we did a good job of working together, staying in it and not giving up. We got some track position and right there at the end, I don't know. Our SHR cars are extremely fast, we show that in qualifying, but they aren’t the best in race trim and traffic yet. We have work to do there and we know that. Given the month of June that we had, we had to get that monkey shook off our back. Right there at the end, you hate to give up fifth right there at the line but we could have just as easily wrecked in turn one on the restart and had another finish like we had in June. We needed a good solid finish and we got that and got some good positive mojo back with our team and we will build on it.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on Sunday, July 21 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.