Photo by: Stewart Haas Racing
Date: June 24, 2018
Event: SaveMart 350k (Round 16 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (1.99-mile road course)
Format: 110 laps, broken into three stages (25 laps/25 laps/60 laps)
Start/Finish: 23rd / 6th (Running, completed 110 of 110 laps)
Point Standing: 7th (524 points, 172 out of first)
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: AJ Allmendinger of JTG Daugherty Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-25):
● Kurt Busch started 23rd, finished 25th.
● Busch was up to 13th by lap 21.
● On lap 22, Busch brought the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 26-50):
● Started sixth and finished 21st.
● Was in sixth place when he pitted on lap 47 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 51-110):
● Started fourth and finished sixth.
● Busch ran in second on lap 77 but was 15 seconds behind Martin Truex Jr.
● On lap 82, Busch took the lead as Truex pitted. Busch pitted on lap 83 for four tires and fuel.
● Busch ended up in sixth place.
● Truex won the Save Mart 350k to score his 18th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his second at Sonoma. His margin of victory over second-place Kevin Harvick was 10.513 seconds.
● There were three caution periods for a total of eight laps.
● Twenty-one of the 38 drivers in the Save Mart 350k finished on the lead lap.
● This was Busch’s ninth top-10 of 2018 and his 10th top-10 in 18 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Sonoma.
● Busch led a single lap to increase his laps-led total at Sonoma to 198.
● This is the second time Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has placed all four of its drivers in the top-10 in a single race, with Harvick finishing second, Clint Bowyer in third, Busch fifth and Aric Almirola eighth. The last time was March 11 at ISM Raceway near Phoenix. This is the best collective finish for SHR since its inception in 2009.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“I went 12 rounds, and there should be no-decision today. I feel like we gave it everything we could. We didn’t have superior lap times in the beginning, and then we figured we would just do a two-stopper at the end. That is what won it last year, but I was on a three-stopper last year and a two-stopper this year. I feel like we did everything we could to just find the right rhythm, and you never know when yellows will come out but we were in position. We were a top-five car and couldn’t quite hold off my little brother at the end. We battled. This is one of my favorite tracks, and I was hoping we could contend for a win. I was looking at fourth place pretty early because the 14, 4 and 78 all checked out.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Overton’s 400 on Sunday, July 1 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN.