Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Kyle Busch started sixth and finished 13th.
● The M&M’S driver officially started sixth, but a pre-race technical inspection issue caused Busch to start at the rear of the field, as he took the green flag in the 37th position.
● Busch worked his way up to 21st when the competition caution waved on lap 30. The M&M’S driver came to pit road one lap later for four tires, fuel, and adjustments as he exited pit road in 16th when the green waved on lap 37.
● Busch radioed into interim crew chief Jacob Canter that he was too tight in the middle of the corner and loose off the corner, as he moved up to 13th by the end of Stage 1.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-235):
● Busch started sixth and finished sixth, earning five bonus points.
● The M&M’S driver came to pit road lap 84, with the M&M’S over-the-wall team vaulting him up five spots coming off pit road. With two car ahead of him with pit road penalties, Busch restarted all the way up in sixth to start Stage 2.
● Busch stayed steady, moving up into the top-five for the first time on lap 149.
● The defending Cup Series champion moved up to as high as fourth, but the handling went away on the long run to end the stage as Busch finished sixth in Stage 2.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 236-400):
● Busch started seventh and finished sixth.
● Busch came to pit road on lap 239 following Stage 2 for four tires, fuel, and adjustments, as he started the final stage in seventh.
● The M&M’S driver moved up into the top-five on lap 272 and with the final stage split with two pit stops, Busch held his ground between fifth and sixth place for the final run of the race.
● With no cautions for the final 165 laps of the 400 lap race, all Busch could do was take his sixth-place finish and move his M&M’S Toyota on to the final race of the Round of 16 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway next Saturday night.
● Busch’s sixth-place finish is his 15th top-10 finish of 2020.
● Busch now has 23rd top-10 finish in x Cup Series starts at Richmond.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
Where were you struggling tonight to run down the leaders?
“Kind of same as last night. Just not quite enough turn in the middle of the corner to keep wrapping on the long runs. The short runs it seemed like I was actually a little bit loose and then it was starting to go a little bit tight and then it was tight loose. Just not enough overall grip I guess. Kind of been fighting that a little bit this year. The guys gave a great fight. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) not being here and I thought Jacob (Canter, fill-in crew chief) did a great job. We all know Adam was back at home. Want to say hi to Samantha (wife) and Brexton (son) back at home. I know they went go-kart racing this afternoon so they had a good time I’m sure. We’ll check in with them. Overall, that’s all we had. We fought hard with our M&M’s Camry and we came up short of a top-five.”
How much did you try to apply from what you learned in yesterday’s Xfinity Series race and do you think it helped you improve your finish?
“Probably yeah. There’s no way in telling, but I’m just going to guess four spots at least. Probably a 10th place car to a sixth-place car there with everything that we were doing. What I learned in the Xfinity race and what I talked to Adam (Stevens, crew chief) about and those guys about to make some subtle changes to what the car and what we were looking for out of tonight’s car. Good stuff I guess. Good learning tool for us and it looked good for the 20 too on the Xfinity side with Harrison (Burton). He was a whole heck of a lot better so there was some stuff from that. That didn’t translate to us quick enough because we were through tech by the time that race was over.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Bass Pro Shops Night Race on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. It is the third race of the 10-race playoffs and the last race in the Round of 16. It starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.