Photo: Stewart-Haas Racing
Date: Oct. 1, 2017
Event: Apache Warrior 400 (Round 29 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway (1-mile, concrete oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into three stages (120 laps/120 laps/160 laps)
Start/Finish: 13th/20th (Running, completed 398 of 400 laps)
Point Standing: 16th with 2,044 points
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-120):
● Kurt Busch started 13th and finished 22nd, one lap down.
● On lap 18, while in ninth, Busch told the crew that his No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion was loose on entry and tight on exit.
● Busch had fallen to 15th by lap 60 as the car was still battling the condition of being loose in and tight off.
● On lap 84 while running 18th, Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and wedge and tire pressure adjustments.
● The caution came out on lap 87 with Busch two laps down. He stayed out while the leaders pitted, took the wave-around and restarted 25th, one lap down.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 121-240):
● Busch started 21st and finished 17th. He got his lap back by taking the wave-around after the first stage.
● On lap 168, Busch was 20th and on the lead lap. The car was still loose in and tight off but getting better.
● Pitted on lap 169 for four tires, fuel and wedge and tire pressureadjustments.
● On lap 200 Busch was 16th and said the car was loose.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 241-400):
● Busch started 17th and finished 20th.
● On lap 242, Busch said the car was still loose and tight off. The crew made another wedge adjustment and dropped the tire pressure in all four tires.
● On lap 332 while in 12th Busch pitted for four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, he had a commitment-line violation and had to serve a passthrough penalty.
● There were four caution periods for a total of 24 laps.
● Only 12 of the 40 drivers in the Apache Warrior 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Kyle Busch won the Apache Warrior 400 to score his 42nd career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fourth of the season, second in a row and third at Dover. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was .357 of a second.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Yeah, disappointed in the way that I drove all through these playoff runs. I was driving at 101 percent trying to get every ounce of speed out of it. It just never had a flow for three races. We might have finished 10th here today. The wreck last week really put us in a hole. We needed a perfect day today and playoff stage points. We just really never did well in Stage 1, and I thought that it might be our Achilles heel. If we add up the numbers (that’s) probably where it was. I can’t fault anybody. We ran hard. We gave it everything we had.”
Playoff Standings (at the conclusion of the Round of 16):
1. Martin Truex Jr. (3,059 points)
2. Kyle Busch (3,041 points, -18)
3. Kyle Larson (3,034 points, -25)
4. Brad Keselowski (3,020 points, -39)
5. Jimmie Johnson (3,017 points, -42)
6. Kevin Harvick (3,015 points, -44)
7. Denny Hamlin (3,013 points, -46)
8. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (3,010 points, -49)
9. Ryan Blaney (3,008 points, -51)
10. Chase Elliott (3,006 points, -53)
11. Matt Kenseth (3,005 points, -54)
12. Jamie McMurray (3,003 points, -56)
Failed to Advance to Round of 12:
13. Ryan Newman (2,067 points)
14. Austin Dillon (2,065 points)
15. Kasey Kahne (2,046 points)
16. Kurt Busch (2,044 points)
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Bank of America 500 on Sunday, Oct. 8 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. It is the fourth race of the 10-race playoffs and starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC beginning at 1 p.m.