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 pressure adjustments.
- 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):
- Martin Truex Jr. (3,059 points)
- Kyle Busch (3,041 points, -18)
- Kyle Larson (3,034 points, -25)
- Brad Keselowski (3,020 points, -39)
- Jimmie Johnson (3,017 points, -42)
- Kevin Harvick (3,015 points, -44)
- Denny Hamlin (3,013 points, -46)
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (3,010 points, -49)
- Ryan Blaney (3,008 points, -51)
- Chase Elliott (3,006 points, -53)
- Matt Kenseth (3,005 points, -54)
- Jamie McMurray (3,003 points, -56)
Failed to Advance to Round of 12:
- Ryan Newman (2,067 points)
- Austin Dillon (2,065 points)
- Kasey Kahne (2,046 points)
- 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.