Photo: Stewart-Haas Racing
Date: Oct. 29, 2017
Event: First Data 500 (Round 33 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Start/Finish: 11th/22nd (Running, completed 505 of 505 laps) in overtime
Point Standing: 15th with 2,139 points
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-130):
● Kurt Busch started 11th and finished 12th.
● The State Water Heaters Ford had a loose-handling condition during the opening laps of the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
● Busch pitted under caution on lap 87 for wedge adjustments and tires. He restarted 20th after the top-nine cars opted not to pit.
● At the end of the stage Busch pitted from the 12th position and was able to maintain his spot coming off of pit road.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 131-260):
● Busch started 11th and finished 11th.
● On the Stage 2 restart Busch reported that he might have received right-front damage after slight contact, but the State Water Heaters spotter noted that everything looked good, so the team did not have to make an additional stop.
● Busch maintained his 11th-place run throughout a caution-free Stage 2.
● Only 12 cars ended Stage 2 on the lead lap.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 261-500):
● Busch started 11th and finished 22nd.
● At the beginning of the final stage, Busch came in for four tires and fuel. Busch was satisfied with his State Water Heaters Ford and did not request adjustments.
● Busch was forced to check up due to traffic on the subsequent restart, relinquishing the 11th spot to Jimmie Johnson.
● With 200 laps remaining, the State Water Heaters driver reported that he was navigating a loose-handling condition in the beginning of the corner and a tight-handling condition in the center of the corner and told the crew he wanted the rear of the car lowered.
● On the lap-313 restart, Busch was able to get a jump up to the 11th spot, and by the lap-316 caution period he cracked the top-10.
● The handling on Busch’s Ford began to deteriorate over the course of the stage, dropping the driver to 16th.
● On lap 460 the State Water Heaters team gained one spot on pit road, restarting 15th and quickly jumping to 12th.
● In overtime Busch was caught up in a multicar incident that dropped him to a 22nd-place finish.
● There were 11 caution periods for a total of 74 laps.
● Twenty-three of the 40 drivers in the First Data 500 finished on the lead lap.
● Kyle Busch won the First Data 500 to score his 43rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fifth of the season and his second at Martinsville. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was .141 of a second.
● Busch leads the playoff standings via his win and has 4,100 points. Truex leads the points standings with 4,117.
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday, Nov. 5 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. It is the eighth race of the 10-race playoffs and starts at 2 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBCSN beginning at 1 p.m.