Photo: Stewart-Haas Racing
Date: Nov. 12, 2017
Event: Can-Am 500k (Round 35 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Phoenix Raceway (1-mile oval)
Format: 312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/162 laps)
Start/Finish: 15th/21st (Running, completed 310 of 312 laps)
Point Standing: 15th with 2,193 points
Race Winner: Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):
● Kurt Busch started 15th, finished 16th.
● Busch noted loose-handling conditions in addition to low right-rear grip during the opening laps.
● He continued to battle balance issues for the duration of the stage.
● Busch pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustments at the conclusion of the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):
● Started 17th, finished 15th.
● Loose handling continued to hinder the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford’s speed throughout the stage.
● Busch pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments at the end of the stage.
● Due to a broken jack during the stop, Busch lost two positions on pit road.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 151-312):
● Started 17th, finished 21st.
● Busch pitted during a lap-239 caution to counter loose-handling conditions. He restarted in the 15th position.
● He opted to stay out during a lap-250 caution to restart ninth.
● Busch battled the Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford in and around the top-10 until a lap-280 caution.
● During the final restart, Busch was caught in traffic, and his car sustained front-end damage that limited driver visibility.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 41 laps.
● Eighteen of the 40 drivers in the Can-Am 500k finished on the lead lap.
● Matt Kenseth won the Can-Am 500k to score his 39th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his second at Phoenix. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was 1.207 seconds.
● The Championship 4 contenders are Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Brad Keselowski. Each enters the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with 5,000 points.
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday, Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The final race of the 10-race playoffs starts at 2:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC beginning at 1:30 p.m.