KURT BUSCH – 2018 Atlanta Race Report

February 26th, 2018

Event:               Folds of Honor 500 (Round 2 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54-mile oval)
Format:             325 laps, broken into three stages (85 laps/85 laps/155 laps)
Start/Finish:      7th/8th (Running, completed 325 of 325 laps)
Point Standing: 8th (68 points, 21 out of first)

Race Winner:    Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):

  • Kurt Busch started seventh, finished eighth and gained three bonus points.
  • The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion was in third when Busch pitted under caution for four tires and fuel.
  • Busch pitted at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-170):     

  • Started seventh, finished second and picked up nine playoff bonus points.
  • Busch passed Brad Keselowski for the lead on lap 100.
  • The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion was in second place when Busch pitted for four tires and fuel.
  • Busch pitted on lap 160 for four tires and fuel, then restarted in third.
  • Busch pitted after the stage for four tires and fuel and came out in first place. 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 171-325):          

  • Started first, finished eighth.
  • On lap 198, Keselowski passed Busch for the lead.
  • Lap 213 saw Busch in third, but he hit pit road for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment, exiting the pits in fifth place.
  • While running fifth on lap 250, Busch pitted for four tires and fuel.
  • On lap 297, the caution came out as Busch ran in 10th but one lap down. He received the “lucky dog” and got his lap back before pitting for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. 

Notes:                          

  • Busch scored his 13th top-10 finish in 27 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Atlanta.
  • He led three times for 52 laps to bring his laps-led total at Atlanta to 801.
  • Busch finished eighth in Stage 1 to earn three bonus points. He finished second in Stage 2 to earn an additional nine bonus points.
  • There were five caution periods for a total of 28 laps.
  • Thirteen of the 36 drivers in the Folds of Honor 500 finished on the lead lap.
  • Kevin Harvick won the Folds of Honor 500 at Atlanta to score his first NASCAR Cup Series win of 2018, his second at Atlanta and the 38th of his career. It was his 15th NASCAR Cup Series victory since joining SHR in 2014.
  • Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Keselowski was 2.69 seconds.
  • This was Harvick’s second win, seventh top-five and 13th top-10 finish in 28 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Atlanta. Harvick’s previous win at Atlanta was on March 11, 2001 – his first-ever win in the series. He scored the victory on what was just his third career start in the NASCAR Cup Series. 

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

“I’m real happy with that run. I could really gas her up hard on green flag runs and the fresh tires after restarts. Harvick is a master at it, and Keselowski is pretty good at it, but it just felt like our car would come unhooked on lap 20 of a run, and we were just trying to make sure we were on the right pit sequence and stayed with our car’s strength. Our car’s strength was short-run speed today.” 

Next Up:                                                                       

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Las Vegas 400 on Sunday, March 4 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX TV, PRN and SiriusXM Radio channel 90.