Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-100):
● Kyle Busch started fourth, finished second and earned nine bonus points.
● Busch reported early in Stage 1 that his M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Toyota Camry was lacking rear grip in turns three and four, which resulted in a slip back to the sixth position on lap 14.
● As the stage progressed Busch was able to work his way back to the front, reaching the second position on lap 85.
● The 2015 Cup Series champion told his Joe Gibbs Racing team that he was lacking rear grip in all turns on lap 95.
● Busch remained in the second position for the final five laps of Stage 1.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 101-200):
● Busch started first and finished first to earn 10 bonus points and one playoff point.
● The M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Toyota pitted on lap 103 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. The team’s quick stop gave Busch the advantage off pit road, and he took control of the lead for the start of Stage 2.
● The Las Vegas native stretched out a 1.5-second lead with 40 laps remaining in the second stage, while also working through lapped traffic.
● Busch’s lead was challenged on lap 185 when the No. 19 was able to catch up to him while in traffic. However, the M&M’S Hazelnut Spread driver pulled away to prevail as the winner of Stage 2.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 201-400):
● Busch started first, finished second.
● Following a pit stop on lap 205 for four tires, fuel and adjustments, Busch restarted in the first position on lap 209.
● When the caution flag was waved on lap 242, Busch told his M&M’S Hazelnut Spread team that he “fired off free” but his Toyota Camry was becoming tight while running up front.
● Busch pitted from the lead on lap 245 for four tires and fuel. He lined up second for the lap-250 restart.
● Busch fell back to third on the restart and quickly lost one more spot, settling into the fourth position on lap 253.
● The JGR driver moved back into the top-three on lap 268 and eventually took over the second position on lap 292.
● Busch radioed to the crew on lap 296 that he was tight center and loose on exit.
● When the race leader spun on lap 317 to bring out the caution, Busch visited pit road for the final time. His No. 18 racecar received four tires, fuel and adjustments from the M&M’S Hazelnut Spread team and was the first car off pit road.
● Busch held the top spot until lap 374 when he was passed by teammate Martin Truex Jr.
● Busch maintained his second-place running position throughout the final 26 laps.
● His runner-up finish at Richmond was good enough to lock Busch in for the next round of the playoffs.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“We led a lot of laps. We were up front a lot. But when I was out front, Martin (Truex Jr.) could keep the closest distance to me. That kind of worried me for a finish like that in the long run. But our M&M’s Hazelnut Spread guys did a great job, and we brought a fast race car here to Richmond, and I think all the JGR cars were pretty respectable there, so really awesome job by everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota in being able to have some really good pieces to go out there and race with.”
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Bank of America Roval 400 on Sunday, Sept. 29 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.