Race Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-25):
● Kyle Buschstarted 17th and finished 12th.
● The M&M’S Hazelnut Spread driver exercised patience during the opening laps of Stage 1. He lost a few positions at the start and was in 20th place by the time the field completed lap one.
● During the next several laps, he quietly made passes. He was back to 17th on lap 15 and picked up another position to ride in 16th place by lap 17.
● The first full-field caution occurred on lap 19. Busch reported that the No. 18 M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Toyota was handling loose at most points on the track. The team used the caution to change four tires and make a wedge adjustment. A number of teams elected to stay out, which placed Busch in 20th place for the restart on lap 22.
● Busch was able to avoid an accident that unfolded entering the first turn at the restart and was scored in 12th place. Stage 1 went on to finish under caution.
● Because the No. 18 team had stopped with only a handful of laps left in Stage 1, Busch stayed out during the stage break and lined up 10th to start Stage 2.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 26-50):
● Busch started 10th and finished 12th.
● The 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion leveraged the restart, jumping from 10th to seventh place by the time the field completed the first lap of Stage 2. He continued to pick up positions, moving to sixth by lap 31 and fifth by lap 32.
● Caution was displayed on lap 41 for a single-car incident. Busch was in fifth place.
● During the caution Busch reported that the No. 18 car wouldn’t turn in some turns but was handling loose in others. The team used the break to stop for tires, fuel and a round of adjustments.
● Once again, varying pit strategies resulted in a few cars staying out rather than making a trip to pit road. As a result, Busch lined up in 11th place for the restart on lap 44.
● Busch lost a couple of positions during the restart but was able to make his way back to 12th place by the time Stage 2 concluded.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 51-109):
● Busch started 10th and finished 37th.
● Green-flag racing resumed, and to kick off Stage 3 Busch made a move to take over ninth place. Two laps later he was back to 12th. He reported that “something” had broken underneath the left rear of the car.
● Caution was displayed two laps later. The team stayed out, which placed the No. 18 M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Toyota in 10th place for the restart on lap 66. A few cars made daring moves to take Busch three-wide at the exit of the first turn. It forced him off course and into the protective barrier, resulting in a flat tire. He reported that, in addition to the tire, the sway bar had broken. The damage forced the Las Vegas native to make a trip to pit road for service under green-flag conditions.
● During the stop Busch was penalized for driving through too many pits. As a result, he had to make a pass-through on pit road. By the time everything shook out, he was scored one lap down in 38th place.
● A caution on lap 88 gave the team another opportunity to repair the damage to the No. 18 car. Extended repair time resulted in the team losing another lap.
● As the race continued, the chance to pick up positions dwindled. The team elected to pull the No. 18 into the garage on lap 99 and retire from the race, finishing the event in 37th place.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“It just wasn’t our weekend. I don’t really know why we had the trouble we’ve had with our M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Camry. It’s not the way you want to run in the playoffs. We are fortunate that we had such a strong regular season and that we have the playoff points that we have. We just can’t keep relying on that as we go through the playoffs.”
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Dover 400 on Sunday, Oct. 6 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.