KURT BUSCH – 2018 Fontana Race Report

March 18th, 2018

Event:               Auto Club 400 (Round 5 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (2-mile oval)
Format:             200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish:      7th/14th (Running, completed 199 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 11th (144 points, 72 behind leader Martin Truex Jr.)

Race Winner:    Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
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 seventh and finished seventh to collect four bonus points.
  • The No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion pitted on lap 27 for four tires and fuel while in ninth.
  • Pitted on lap 39 for four tires and fuel, saying the car was tight on entry and loose off. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120): 

  • Started 17th, finished 11th.
  • Busch pitted on lap 63 for four tires and fuel.
  • The No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion pitted on lap 89 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, still describing car as tight on entry and loose off.
  • Busch pitted on lap 110 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment, with car remaining tight on entry and loose off.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-200): 

  • Started eighth and finished 14th.
  • Busch pitted on lap 123 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment and said his car was way too loose.
  • After a quick caution, Busch pitted on lap 130 for four tires and fuel, running in 11th.
  • While in 10th, Busch pitted for four tires and fuel.
  • The No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion developed a slight mechanical issue late in the race, which caused Busch to fade to 14th. 

Notes:

  • This was Busch’s third top-15 of 2018.
  • Busch finished seventh in Stage 1 to earn four bonus points.
  • Truex won the Auto Club 400 to score his 16th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first at Fontana and first of the season. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Larson was 11.685 seconds.
  • There were five caution periods for a total of 21 laps.
  • Only 10 of the 37 drivers in the Auto Club 400 finished on the lead lap. 

Next Up: 

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Martinsville 500 on Sunday, March 25 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 beginning at 12:30 p.m.