Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):
● Kyle Busch started 12th and finished fifth to earn six bonus points.
● After starting 12th, Busch relayed to the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota team just before the first caution of the day on lap eight that he was lacking rear grip.
● Busch stayed on track to restart in 11th on lap 12 but was unable to advance his position as his M&M’S Camry didn’t have enough grip on restarts to carry momentum.
● When the second caution of the day occurred on lap 16, Busch pitted for fuel and a chassis adjustment. He rejoined the field in 22nd for the restart on lap 19.
● The 2015 Cup Series champion was able to work his way back into the top-15 and inherited the third position on lap 43 when the leaders pitted under caution and Busch remained on track.
● The race returned to green on lap 47, but the field would be slowed three more times for cautions before the end of Stage 1 on lap 85.
● Busch stayed on track during those yellow-flag periods to complete the stage in the fifth position.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-170):
● Busch started 28th, finished ninth and earned two bonus points.
● Busch pitted at the end of Stage 1 for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. After several laps under caution the M&M’S team elected to pit a second time on lap 93 to top off on fuel, eventually restarting in 28th on lap 94.
● The Las Vegas native advanced to the 15th position before the leaders began green-flag pit stops on lap 140.
● The No. 18 team chose to stay on track as long as possible, allowing Busch to take over the lead on lap 154.
● Crew chief Adam Stevens called Busch to pit road under green on lap 164 for a splash of fuel, just enough to complete the final six laps of Stage 2.
● Busch returned to the track in the 10th position and held on for a top-10 finish in the second stage.
● At the stage break, Busch pitted once again for four tires and fuel.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 171-334):
● Busch started 10th, finished seventh.
● Busch was running in the ninth position on lap 218 as the leaders began to make green-flag pit stops. He advanced as high as second before the yellow flag was shown once again on lap 244.
● Stevens brought Busch to pit road on lap 245 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment after the driver reported his M&M’S Toyota Camry was still free in turns one and two. Busch’s was the second car off pit road, but he restarted fourth after two cars stayed on track.
● Busch dropped back to the third spot on the restart, but he took over the lead once again on lap 307 as green-flag stops began.
● The M&M’S Toyota driver continued to lead until running out of fuel and pitting under green for fuel only on lap 312. As a result of running the tank dry, Busch was delayed getting off pit road and rejoined the field in the seventh position, which he maintained for the final 20 laps.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“I was running wide open there, and those guys were just driving away. We got what we got out of our M&M’S Camry tonight. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) made some good adjustments. The whole first set of tires was just ugly for us. Once we got past that and got some other tires on the car, it seemed to go a little bit better. It was hard battling some of them guys up there and up through traffic and what not. We should have run third, but we ran out of gas and starved the pump there at the end. Then I was stalled on pit road. That cost us four or five spots there.”
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Bluegreen Vacations 500k on Sunday, Nov. 10 at ISM Raceway near Phoenix. It is the penultimate race of the 10-race playoffs and the cutoff race to make the Championship 4. The event starts at 2:30 p.m. EST with live coverage on NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.