KURT BUSCH – 2017 Pocono I Race Report

Event:               Axalta presents the Pocono 400 (Round 14 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format:             160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Start/Finish:      5th/4th (Running, completed 160 of 160 laps)
Point Standing: 14th (331 points, 253 out of first) 

Race Winner:    Ryan Blaney of Wood Brothers Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner:             Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

  • Kurt Busch started fifth, finished seventh. Earned four bonus points.
  • Quickly moved to fourth at the start of Stage 1.
  • Made a green-flag pit stop for four tires, fuel and adjustments on lap 16 to correct a tight-handling condition.
  • After several cars in front of Busch made green-flag pit stops, he was able to drive his Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion back into the top-10. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

  • Started 12th, finished eighth. Earned three bonus points.
  • Car became loose after adjustments made at the conclusion of Stage 1.
  • On lap 66, Busch pitted under green-flag conditions for four tires and fuel.
  • After a red-flag period, Busch battled his way to an eighth-place finish on a one-lap shootout that ended the stage. 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-160):

  • Started 15th, finished fourth.
  • Busch drove his Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford into the top-four at the beginning of the final stage.
  • On lap 125, Busch made a green-flag pit stop for four tires and fuel. He came off pit road in 17th.
  • In only four laps, Busch battled his way back into the top-10.
  • With 17 laps to go, Busch took his last pit stop under caution for four tires and fuel.
  • Busch restarted in the seventh position and moved through the field to secure his second top-five finish of 2017. 

Notes:

  • Busch came into the Axalta presents the Pocono 400 as the defending race winner.
  • Busch’s fourth-place finish was his 14th top-five and 19th top-10 in 32 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono. It was his second top-five and seventh top-10 of 2017.
  • Twenty-four of the 39 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
  • There were 13 lead changes among nine drivers.
  • There were four caution periods for a total of 18 laps.
  • Ryan Blaney won the Axalta presents the Pocono 400 to score his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Kevin Harvick was .139 of a second.

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

“It was warm and we battled really hard today and had a nice, consistent run. I just didn’t have any special speed, but we ran good lap times, so I’m really proud of our Haas Automation/Monster Energy guys. It’s great to see a Ford in victory lane, so congratulations to the Wood Brothers. To see Ryan Blaney win – he’s going to be a superstar in this sport. He’s a good kid. I’m going to keep pushing hard, though. We’re chiseling away at this and we’re going to get in good position.”

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Firekeepers Casino 400 on Sunday, June 18 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.