KURT BUSCH – 2017 Michigan I Race Report

June 18th, 2017

Event:               FireKeepers Casino 400 (Round 15 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (2-mile oval)
Format:             200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish:      15th/12th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 14th (359 points, 281 out of first) 

Race Winner:    Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner:             Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

  • Kurt Busch started 15th, finished 11th.
  • Busch started Stage 1 from the rear of the field due to unapproved body modifications prior to the race.
  • Busch’s Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford was loose in and tight off the turns.
  • After pitting for four tires and fuel during a lap-27 caution, Busch ran just outside of the top-10. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

  • Started 10th, finished eighth. Earned three bonus points.
  • Busch powered his way to eighth place at the restart before battling loose handling conditions.
  • On lap 104, Busch pitted under green-flag conditions for fuel only and then ran in the 22nd position.
  • After several cars in front of Busch made green-flag pit stops, he was able to drive his Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion back into the top-10. 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-200):

  • Started 15th, finished 12th.
  • Busch noted tight-handling conditions after adjustments made at the conclusion of Stage 2.
  • During a lap-188 caution, Busch opted not to pit and restarted in the 13th position.
  • A caution just four laps later provided Busch the opportunity to restart in the top-10.
  • On the final restart, Busch was caught in traffic and his Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford lost two positions. 

Notes:

  • Busch made his 33rd Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan.
  • Busch’s 12th-place finish in the FireKeepers Casino 400 was his third straight result of 12th or better at Michigan.
  • There were eight caution periods for a total of 34 laps.
  • Twenty-six of the 37 drivers in the FireKeepers Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.
  • Kyle Larson won the FireKeepers Casino 400 from the pole to score his third career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Michigan. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was .993 of a second.
  • Larson leads the championship standings with 640 points and has a five-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Martin Truex Jr.

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

“I thought we could’ve had a better finish. We have to find what it’s going to take to push us into that next level. Thanks to all the guys on this Monster Energy/Haas Automation team for working hard and trying to find the strategy to help us. It paid off at the end.”

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Save Mart 350k on Sunday, June 25 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.