COLE CUSTER – 2017 Fontana Race Report

 

Date: March 25, 2017
Event: Service King 300 (Round 5 of 33)
Series: NASCAR XFINITY Series
Location: Auto Club Speedway (2-mile oval)
Format: 150 laps, broken into three stages (35 laps/35 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish: 4th/35th (Accident, completed 106 of 150 laps)
Point Standing: 12th (86 points, 103 out of first)

Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-35):

  • Started 4th, finished 8th.
  • Custer noted a tight-handling condition that progressed through Stage 1.
  • After the caution period on lap 30, Custer restarted the final two laps of Stage 1 in the sixth position.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 36-70):       

  • Started 6th, finished 8th.
  • Custer continued to battle a tight-handling condition through Stage 2.
  • Custer ran consistently in the top 10.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 71-150):

  • Started 6th, finished 35th.
  • After slight air pressure adjustments, Custer raced his way back to the third position.
  • During the lap 96 caution, Custer opted to pit and a jack malfunction caused Custer to restart in the 17th position.
  • On lap 106, Custer was involved in an accident sending him into the wall and ending his day.

Notes:              

  • Custer earned his career-best NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying effort.
  • Custer earned points in Stage 1 and Stage 2.

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:  

Walk us through today’s race.
“I just got hooked going into the corner. I think I hit him (Ryan Sieg) a tick just on my side draft coming off of four and then he decided to hook us going into turn one and wreck us. It is what it is, but we’ll just move on. We had an awesome Haas Automation Ford Mustang. I thought we could have competed for a win there. We had a bad pit stop, but we were going to work our way back up there.”

CLINT BOWYER – 2017 Phoenix I Race Report

Event:               Camping World 500k (Round 4 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Phoenix International Raceway (1-mile oval)
Format:             312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/162 laps)
Start/Finish:      13th/13th (Running, completed 314 of 314 laps) 
Point Standing: Three-way tie for 13th (97 points, 87 out of first) 
Race Winner:    Ryan Newman of Richard Childress Racing in overtime (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

  • Started 13th, finished 16th.
  • Bowyer reported his car was loose into the turn and tight in the center.
  • During the stage’s only pit stop, the No. 14 crew made chassis adjustments to improve the car’s handling.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):     

  • Started 16th, finished 14th.
  • Raced as high as 13th during stage.
  • Bowyer told the Haas Automation crew the car lacked grip on the hot, slick track.

 Final Stage Recap (Laps 151-312 & Overtime):    

  • Started 13th, finished 13th.
  • Climbed as high as 10th with 48 laps remaining, but faded to 17th in the closing laps.
  • Rallied from 17th to 13th in overtime after pitting for tires. 

Notes:              

  • Race marked Bowyer’s third consecutive top-13 finish.
  • Bowyer made his 24th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Phoenix.
  • Air temperature exceeded 95 degrees when the race began.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:           

“It was that kind of weekend for us really. Just a little off all weekend long. We got it better Saturday and I really thought we were going to be good there but we actually ended up racing the way we struggled all day Friday. We came full circle.” 

Next Up:          

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 26 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.

DANICA PATRICK – 2017 Phoenix I Race Report

Event:               Camping World 500k (Round 4 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Phoenix International Raceway (1-mile oval)
Format:             314 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/164 laps)
Start/Finish:      26th/22nd (Running, completed 314 of 314 laps) 
Point Standing: 29th (52 points, 132 out of first)
 Race Winner:    Ryan Newman of Richard Childress Racing in overtime (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

  • Danica Patrick started 26th and finished 27th.
  • The No. 10 TaxAct Ford Fusion was scored as high as 22nd during the first segment of the race, but dropped back to 27th as Patrick struggled with a car that was too unstable on corner entry.
  • Crew chief Billy Scott called Patrick to pit road twice during Stage 1 for tires, fuel, wedge and air pressure adjustments to help improve the car’s handling. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 75-150):     

  • Patrick started 22nd and finished 20th.
  • At the start of the run, Patrick noted the car’s handling was loose in and tight in the center of the corner. The team made a wedge adjustment under caution at lap 119 and at the end of the stage she reported the car was better that run.
  • When Stage 2 ended, the team pitted for tires, fuel and adjustments. 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 151-314):          

  • Patrick started 21st and finished 22nd.
  • The No. 10 TaxAct Ford team pitted three times during the last stage of the race. On each trip to pit road they took four tires and fuel, and made chassis and air pressure adjustments to help improve the car’s handling.
  • While Patrick dropped to 28th with about 60 laps to go, she was able to rally back in the final laps to take the checkered flag in 22nd. 

Notes:              

  • Patrick’s finish of 22nd earned the team 15 points, giving her a total of 52 points. That puts Patrick 29th in the driver point standings.
  • Patrick’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick earned a sixth-place finish in Sunday’s race. As a result, with TaxAct’s “Premium Finish” promotion, NASCAR fans can file their 2016 federal and state tax returns using the TaxAct Online Premium Bundle for only $10 (currently priced at $70). This gives filers access to the federal and state forms needed to complete their TaxAct Online return no matter how complex their tax situation, all in, for $10 (offer and pricing subject to change). Filers can lock in their “Premium Finish” price online by visiting TaxAct.com/Ten and the applicable discounted pricing offer is available through Saturday, March 25. With TaxAct’s Price Lock Guarantee, filers are guaranteed to pay the price offered for its online products at the time they register, no matter when they choose to file. TaxAct will offer additional opportunities for NASCAR fans to file returns with “Premium Finish” pricing for the NASCAR Cup Series races up to the tax filing deadline on April 18, 2017. 

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 TaxAct Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

“The TaxAct Ford started out loose in and tight in the center. It was alright in the middle stages of the race, but in the final segment it just took too long to come in during the runs and we lost a ton of ground. We were able to pick some spots back up late in the run and then it took off pretty good on the last restart. I have to thank the guys for doing a great job in the pits all day.” 

Next Up:                                                                        

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 26 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.

KURT BUSCH – 2017 Phoenix I Race Report

Event:               Camping World 500k (Round 4 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 
Location:          Phoenix International Raceway (1-mile oval) 
Format:             312 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/162 laps)
Start/Finish:      11th/25th (Running, completed 314 of 314 laps) 
Point Standing: 9th (105 points, 79 out of first) 
Race Winner:    Ryan Newman of Richard Childress Racing in overtime (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

  • Kurt Busch started 11th, finished 18th.
  • Battled a loose-handling condition on corner entry and tight through the middle for much of the Stage.
  • Reported that his voltage meter was flashing on lap 29 and was forced him to shut off everything but the fan for the rear gear.
  • Visited pit road twice at the conclusion of Stage 1 to replace both batteries, take four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
  • Received a speeding penalty on pit road, and was held for one lap as a penalty. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):

  • Started 36th, finished 33rd.
  • Continued to experience electrical issues.
  • Brushed the wall on lap 138.
  • Visited pit road twice under caution to replace a battery, take four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
  • Visited pit road at the conclusion of Stage 2 to replace a battery, take four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 151-312):

  • Started 33rd, finished 25th.
  • Visited pit road twice under caution to replace a battery, take four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
  • Got the free pass when the caution flag waved on lap 206 to get back on the lead lap.
  • Continued to experience electrical issues. Due to not being able to use his fans, had intermittent brake issues.

Notes:

  • Busch made his 29th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Phoenix.
  • Busch led lap 79.
  • For the second consecutive week, electrical issues plagued the No. 41 team. 

Next Up:                                                                        

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 26 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.

 

KEVIN HARVICK – 2017 Phoenix I Race Report

Event:               Camping World 500k (Round 4 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Phoenix International Raceway (1-mile oval)
Format:             314 laps, broken into three stages (75 laps/75 laps/164 laps)
Start/Finish:      23rd/6th (Running, completed 314 of 314 laps)
Point Standing: 7th (123 points, 61 behind new series leader Kyle Larson)
 
Race Winner:    Ryan Newman of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet) in overtime
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

  • Kevin Harvick started 23rd, finished 13th.
  • The No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford was tight in the center of the corner and loose off on throttle.
  • Harvick came to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments on lap 29 and gained two positions on pit road.
  • He struggled on the first few laps following a restart, but the car came to life after a handful of laps.
  • Harvick came to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments on lap 79 following Stage 1 and gained three positions on pit road. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):     

  • Started 10th, finished 10th.
  • Harvick noted that the No. 4 car started off loose and got tighter throughout the run.
  • The No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford came in for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments under caution on lap 120.
  • The Jimmy John’s pit crew gained three positions on the lap 120 start, allowing Harvick to restart seventh.
  • Harvick came to pit road for four tires, fuel and multiple adjustments on lap 153 following Stage 2. 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 151-314):          

  • Started 10th, finished 6th.
  • Harvick reported that the No. 4 car took off better at the start of the final stage and raced his way up to seventh by lap 163.
  • The No. 4 car came to pit road for four tires and adjustments under caution on lap 194. The team gained two positions on pit road.
  • Harvick restarted fifth on lap 212 and gained a position up to fourth on lap 213.
  • He brought the Jimmy John’s Ford to pit road under caution for two right-side tires on lap 309.
  • He restarted sixth on lap 312 after three cars elected to stay out during the caution and crossed the finish line sixth on lap 314.

 Notes:                          

  • Kevin Harvick scored his second top-10 finish of 2017.
  • Harvick scored his 18th top-10 finish in 29 starts at Phoenix.
  • It was his eighth-straight top-10 finish at Phoenix in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at the track.
  • There were eight caution periods for a total of 45 laps.
  • Newman’s win in the Camping World 500k was the 18th of his NASCAR Cup Series career, his second at Phoenix and his first since winning the 2013 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a span of 127 races.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 “We just didn’t ever get it exactly how we wanted all weekend. Luckily it is a good race track for us and we were able to battle and use all the tricks of the trade we know to get ourselves up in contention. We definitely need to do some work on this style race track with our Jimmy John’s Ford but it was a heck of a battle all day.” 

Next Up:                                                                        

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 26 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX.

COLE CUSTER – 2017 Phoenix I Race Report

Date:                 March 18, 2017
Event:               DC Solar 200 (Round 4 of 33)
Series:               NASCAR XFINITY Series
Location:          Phoenix International Raceway (Mile oval)
Format:             200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish:      9th/21st (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
 Point Standing: 12th (78 points, 66 out of first)
 Race Winner:    Justin Allgaier of Junior Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

  • Started ninth, finished 18th.
  • Battled tight-handling car after the first 15 laps of Stage 1.
  • Team made major handling adjustments during caution between Stages 1 and 2.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):     

  • Started 23rd, finished 15th.
  • Before the stage began, NASCAR penalized Custer for driving through too many pit stalls on his stop and forced the No. 00 to restart at back of the field.
  • With improved handling, Custer gained eight spots during the stage, occasionally turning top-five lap times.

 Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-200):          

  • Started 15th, finished 21st.
  • Climbed to eighth with 14 laps remaining.
  • Made contact with Austin Dillon with 10 to go. During the caution, Dillon drove his damaged car into Custer’s car.
  • Custer pitted for repairs and restarted the race 26th with five laps remaining.

Notes:              

  • Custer tied his career-best NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying effort.
  • This was Custer’s 10th NASCAR XFINITY Series start.
  • 95-degree weather with temperatures exceeding 130 degrees inside racecars.

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

Tell us about the race and your take on the incident with Austin Dillon.“We had a great race leading up to that. We didn’t start out at all how we wanted to but, by the end, we were probably a fifth- to eighth-place car. I thought that was a really good sign for us. We had a really good Haas Automation Ford Mustang this weekend. The incident with Austin was 100-percent my fault. I got in there too deep, got really loose going in and couldn’t put any wheel into it. That was pretty much it. Something that won’t happen again. It’s unfortunate I cost us and the No. 2 car there.”

KURT BUSCH – 2017 Phoenix I Race Advance

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina – Growing up in Las Vegas, Kurt Busch spent the early years of his career competing at tracks along the West Coast.

And when he wasn’t behind the wheel of his racecar, the driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) traveled to area tracks to take in races as a spectator. Throughout the 1990s, Busch regularly made the trek to Phoenix International Raceway just to have the chance to watch NASCAR superstars like Dale Earnhardt and Davey Allison compete.

Getting the opportunity to race at the mile oval in the desert west of Phoenix – the same track where he had cheered for many of his racing heroes – was a dream come true for Busch. Racing at the track was like a home game for Busch, who also attended college for several semesters at the University of Arizona down the road in Tucson before making it in NASCAR’s big leagues.

While he was coming up through the ranks, Busch made a number of race starts at Phoenix, competing in series such as NASCAR’s Southwest Series tour. Then, in 2000, Busch took to the track for the first time as a competitor in NASCAR’s top touring series, competing in both the Camping World Truck Series race in March, in which he finished fourth, and then in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in November later that same season, when he finished 29th.

Since his first NASCAR Cup Series start at Phoenix, it has been a track where Busch has performed consistently. He only has one win in Cup Series competition at Phoenix, but he also owns seven top-five finishes and 17 top-10s in his 28 starts there. He has an average finish of 13.1, which is the third-highest finishing average for Busch at any active track on the Cup Series schedule.

While competing and winning at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway is considered the ultimate accomplishment for NASCAR drivers, the mile oval in the Arizona desert outside Phoenix is often thought of just as highly by young racers growing up out West. While Busch is certainly proud of what he’s been able to accomplish at Phoenix, he’d like nothing more than to score another win there not only for the personal pride, but also to better his position for NASCAR’s playoff. Drivers earn five playoff points for every regular-season race win, which they will carry through the 10-race run for the championship.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 Talk a little bit about heading to Phoenix this weekend. 

“Phoenix has done a great job over the years of continuing to upgrade the facility and the racing there, I think, is great on that flat 1-mile track. With (baseball) Spring Training in town during our race, I hope to match up and go out to Mesa, Arizona, where the Cubs play. They’re World Champions. I’ve been a Cubs fan my whole life and it would be great to go and shake their hands and congratulate them on a job well done. We’ll see if that matches up, but as far as the Phoenix race and the atmosphere there and the changes that they’re making, they’re going all in. It gives you this impression that (Bryan) Sperber, the track president, is doing what he needs to do to position himself to be our year-end finale and to see his track host the final Cup points race.”

What do you feel you need to work on at Phoenix to continue the success you’ve had there?

“It seems like, each time we go back to Phoenix, the asphalt is getting a little bit older. It’s starting to get a little bit slicker, yet it still seems like you can stay out forever on tires. You are out there a long time on tires and the air pressures build up. We are going to work this time around on keeping the air pressure down and trying to make our long-run speed better.” 

What makes Phoenix such a unique racetrack?

 “It’s got a great atmosphere there with turns one and two being much tighter than turns three and four. They reconfigured the dogleg on the back straightaway, which is a huge corner now. It opens up the ability to go way below the yellow line. Sometimes you see cars five-wide on the back straightaway. That is definitely a wild card in the mix there.”

DANICA PATRICK – 2017 Las Vegas Race Report

Event:               Kobalt Tools 400 (Round 3 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format:             267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish:      29th/36th (Accident, completed 246 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 30th (37 points, 95 out of first) 
Race Winner:    Martin Truex, Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

  • Danica Patrick started 29th and finished 29th.
  • The No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion dropped to the rear to start the race after the team was forced to change the gearbox following final practice on Saturday.
  • Patrick pitted twice during the stage and crew chief Billy Scott tweaked the car looking to improve entry and exit with slight adjustments in both rear corners.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):     

  • Patrick started 29th and finished 28th.
  • The team made a long green-flag run to open the stage and Patrick climbed inside the top 20 before making a pair of pit stops late in the stage. Patrick reported the car felt better, but it remained tight on exit causing the nose to take off.
  • At the conclusion of Stage 2, the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford team pitted for tires, fuel and a small wedge adjustment to help balance the car through the corners for Patrick. 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):          

  • Patrick started 28th and finished 36th.
  • She continued her rhythm from Stage 2 making consistent laps despite being two laps down to the leader early in the stage. The team needed a caution to gain back a lap, but that never came. The green-flag run continued for 58 laps before Patrick pitted for four tires and fuel making a green-flag stop on lap 224.
  • Patrick spent the next 20 laps working to climb back inside the top 30 before a mechanical failure caused her to lose power on lap 250. She drove the car to the garage where the crew assessed the mechanical failure.

Notes:              

  • Patrick earned 1 point in Sunday’s race at Las Vegas, which gives her a total of 37 points for the season thus far. She is ranked 30th in the driver point standings heading into next weekend’s race at Phoenix International Raceway. 

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

“It was another day where my Aspen Dental Ford team worked hard to get me better throughout the race. There late in the race, we finally got the car to a place where I think we could have got a little more racy with it, especially if we would have caught some breaks, but then it just flattened out.  I just rode around the top in case something happened. Unfortunately, it did and having a teammate behind me was not ideal for the timing of it. We’ll just move on to Phoenix and see if we can keep improving.”  

Next Up:                                                                        

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Camping World 500k on Sunday, March 19 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX.

CLINT BOWYER – 2017 Las Vegas Race Report

Event:               Kobalt 400 (Round 3 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format:             267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish:      13th/10th (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps) 
Point Standing: 12th (73 points, 59 out of first) 
Race Winner:    Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

  • Started 13th, finished 19th.
  • Battled loose-handling car throughout Stage 1.
  • Pitted during the lap 19 caution period, but lost several spots when another car slowed Bowyer on pit lane.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):     

  • Started 19th, finished 14th.
  • After several adjustments, the car’s handling improved, but was still loose.
  • Bowyer gained two spots in the stage’s final four laps after restart.

 Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):          

  • Started 17th.
  • Started turning top-six lap times midway through the final stage.
  • Restarted the race in 11th with nine laps remaining.

 Notes:              

  • Bowyer scored his first top-10 finish of 2017.
  • It’s also Bowyer’s first top-10 finish since joining SHR.
  • Bowyer’s previous high-water mark at Las Vegas was a second-place result on March 1, 2009.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:           

“It was a struggle. To be truthful, we weren’t the best all weekend, but we just kept digging. Buga (Mike Bugarewicz) didn’t give up on the box and kept adjusting on it and got me pretty good, the best we’d been right there at the end. It’s a top-10 and gives us some momentum. It’s our third race together and we got a top-10, so we’ve got to keep digging.”

 Next Up:          

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Camping World 500k on Sunday, March 19 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.

KURT BUSCH – 2017 Las Vegas Race Report

Event:               Kobalt 400 (Round 3 of 36) 
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 
Location:          Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format:             267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish:      17th/30th (Running, completed 263 of 267 laps) 
Point Standing: 7th (93 points, 39 out of first)
Race Winner:    Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

  • Kurt Busch started 17th, finished 12th.
  • Busch was scored as high as 10th during Stage 1.
  • Battled a loose-handling condition for much of the Stage.
  • Visited pit road at the conclusion of Stage 1 for right-side tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

  • Started 15th, finished 17th.
  • Experienced an electrical issue that forced him to shut off everything but the fan for the rear gear.
  • Made a pit stop during green-flag conditions on lap 126 for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments.
  • Struggled with a tight-handling condition at the beginning of the run but loose as the laps clicked off.
  • Visited pit road at the conclusion of Stage 2 for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

  • Started 18th, finished 30th.
  • Struggled with a tight-handling condition.
  • Forced to pit on lap 201 to replace batteries under green-flag conditions. Lost four laps. 

Notes:

  • Busch made his 16th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at his home track.

 Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We went through a lot today. Obviously it wasn’t the day we were hoping to have with our Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion. We didn’t have the long-run speed or the balance, and we had an electrical issue that forced us to change batteries on pit road. We kept battling, we didn’t give up. I hoped to have a better run here in front of the hometown fans.”

Next Up:                                                                        

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Camping World 500k on Sunday, March 19 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.