Thursday, Dec 01

Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M'S Hazelnut Spread Toyota Camry Race Recap for the 500

Race Winner:  Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner:  William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-55):

Kyle Busch started 26th and finished 15th.

● Busch positioned the No. 18 M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Toyota in the outside line and was able to leverage the draft to race his way into the top-five by lap four. He took the lead one lap later on lap five. He maintained the top spot for two laps before getting shuffled back in the running order.

● It was on lap 22 that Busch reported the car was handling well aside from a slight tight-handling condition in the exits.

● Green-flag pit stops started taking place on lap 34 with the M&M’S Hazelnut Spread team making their stop on lap 35 for left-side tires and fuel. Busch was in seventh place by the time stops cycled through.

● Caution slowed the race on lap 36. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 40 with Busch in seventh place.

● Light rain showers started falling around the track as the laps wound down in Stage 1. Busch was in 15th place by the time Stage 1 concluded.

● Rain persisted and forced NASCAR to display the red flag.

● Despite attempts to dry the track, inclement weather persisted and forced NASCAR to delay the conclusion of the race to Monday.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 56-110):

Busch started 14th and finished 10th.

Once the red flag was lifted, Busch and the majority of the cars on the lead lap made trips to pit road for service with the No. 18 team changing four tires and adding fuel.

The 2015 Cup Series champion lined up 14th to start Stage 2.

Green-flag pit stops started taking place on lap 90. Busch made his own stop on lap 91, pitting from the seventh position. The team made a wedge adjustment and only added fuel. Green-flag stops cycled through on lap 95 with the M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Toyota in 13th place.

Busch started again to work his way to the front of the field and was in second place by lap 100. He had dropped back to ninth place when a caution came out on lap 107 after an accident involving several cars. Busch was able to avoid the incident and was scored in 10th place.

Stage 2 finished during the caution. During the break Busch reported that the car lacked grip and was too loose in traffic. The team used the break to make an air pressure adjustment, change four tires and add fuel.

Busch lined up eighth to start Stage 3.


Stage 3 Recap (Laps 111-188):

Busch started eighth and finished 19th.

A single car incident resulted in the caution being displayed on lap 122. Green-flag racing resumed with Busch in fifth place.

The Las Vegas native took advantage of the restart and jumped to the front of his line. He spent the next few laps battling for the lead.

Caution was displayed on lap 131 for debris from a tire. Busch was scored in fourth place. The No. 18 pitted, and the team changed left-side tires and added fuel. Quick service from the crew placed Busch on the outside of the front row for the restart.

As the race continued the business of trying to secure track position picked up. Busch placed his M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Camry at the front of the bottom line, and on lap 151 he assumed the top spot.

Caution was displayed on lap 152 for a single car incident. Busch reported that his car was handling well.

Most teams had to make another stop for fuel to make it to the end of the race. Busch led everyone down pit road. The No. 18 team changed right-side tires and added fuel. Teams elected to use varying strategies from changing no tires to adding four. This placed Busch in fifth place for the restart on lap 157.

Multiple cautions slowed the final 20 laps of the race. Busch had avoided all the incidents until lap 181, when he got turned into traffic while racing in the fifth position. He and a number of other drivers were caught up in the accident, which brought out the red flag.

The damage was extensive, but due to the length of time it took to clean up, Busch was able to limp his car around the track to finish the event on the lead lap in 19th place.


Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

“It’s unfortunate but what we’ve come to expect when it comes to plate racing. We had our M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Camry in a great spot but just got caught up in someone else’s mess. At least we finished the race and have some points that will help us to the next round.”


Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, Oct. 20 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.



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