KURT BUSCH – 2018 Martinsville I Race Report

March 27th, 2018

Event:               Martinsville 500 (Round 6 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format:             500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Start/Finish:      11th/11th (Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 10th (177 points, 80 behind leader Kyle Busch)

Race Winner:    Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-130): 

  • Kurt Busch started 11th and finished eighth to collect three bonus points.
  • The No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion was loose early on.
  • On lap 52, Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 131-260):

  • Started sixth, finished seventh to collect four bonus points.
  • Said car lacked “forward bite.”

Final Stage Recap (Laps 261-500): 

  • Started eighth and finished 11th.
  • Busch pitted on lap 265 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.
  • After a quick caution, Busch pitted on lap 130 for four tires and fuel, running in 11th.
  • Still trying to find a little rear grip as the race came to a close, Busch managed to secure a solid 11th-place finish while teammate Bowyer crossed the finish line first to score the win for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). 

Notes:

  • This was Busch’s fourth top-15 of 2018.
  • Busch finished eighth in Stage 1 to collect three bonus points and seventh in Stage 2 to earn four additional bonus points.
  • Bowyer’s victory in the Martinsville 500 marked the 47th overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s 43rd points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its fourth at Martinsville.
  • This was SHR’s seventh Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.
  • It was SHR’s fourth victory in the first six races of 2018, as Harvick scored back-to-back-to-back wins at the second, third and fourth events of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and ISM Raceway near Phoenix.
  • This was the second time in five races that all four SHR cars finished in the top-14.
  • There were four caution periods for a total of 33 laps.
  • Fourteen of the 38 drivers in the Martinsville 500 finished on the lead lap.
  • Bowyer’s margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was 1.146 seconds. 

Next Up: 

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, April 8 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.