Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):
● Kyle Buschstarted seventh, finished seventh.
● While Busch started seventh, he dropped quickly after the green flag waved, as a tight-handling condition saw him fall to 14th by the second lap.
● However, Busch was able to stabilize his position and recover nicely after pitting under caution on lap 13, moving up to 12th by lap 15 and up to eighth by lap 43.
● The 2015 Cup Series champion restarted seventh with seven laps to go in Stage 1 and moved up one position as the caution again waved with just two laps remaining due to an accident involving JGR teammate Erik Jones and Brad Keselowski.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):
● Busch started fourth, finished 37th.
● Busch started fourth to begin Stage 2 and held that spot for much of the first part of the stage.
● The 2015 Cup Series champion pitted on lap 86, with crew chief Adam Stevens calling for four tires and an air pressure adjustment to combat a tight-handling car.
● As the M&M’S Hazelnut Spread driver exited pit road, though, his engine started smoking. The motor eventually quit working, and he was forced behind the wall, ending his day with a disappointing 37th-place finish after just 87 laps.
● With the playoff grid now set, Busch left Indianapolis as the NASCAR Cup Series regular-season champion and will start the playoffs next week at his hometown Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
● With the 15 playoff points added as the regular-season champion, Busch will have 45 playoff points to carry throughout the playoffs, which could play a pivotal role in making it to the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.
● This is Busch’s 13th appearance in the playoffs, with the M&M’S Hazelnut Spread driver being the 2015 series champion.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
What happened to the racecar?
“I didn’t think we had a chance to win. We were just way too tight; we were off a little bit today. Thought we were going to have a solid third- to fifth-place car anyways and come out of here with a solid effort and have some momentum rolling into the next week. Unfortunately, we blew up. Everything was fine, there was no warning of it. It just happened all of a sudden. I was leaving pit road and blending back into traffic on the backstretch. When it blew up, for some reason it knocked the brakes out of it, so I couldn’t stop. All in all, just a bummer day for us – for this M&M’s Hazelnut Camry.”
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the South Point 400 on Sunday, Sept. 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race starts at 7 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.