Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (13846)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Clint Bowyerstarted 16th, finished 11th.

Dropped to 20th, then began climb through the field.

Moved to 10th by lap 45 but fell out of the points-paying position in the final laps of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Started sixth and finished ninth.

Flat-spotted tires and suffered minor hood damage on lap 88 after Brad Keselowski triggered a three-car accident.

Bowyer dropped to 22nd and rebounded to run as high as sixth.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-274):

Started 15th, finished 13th.

Raced in 13th at the 200-lap mark.

Made his final green-flag pit stop with 42 laps remaining but dropped off the lead lap during the pit-stop sequence. 

Gained three positions by dodging a race-ending wreck in overtime.

Bowyer said his biggest problem was a lack of rear grip in the final stage.

 

Notes:

●  Bowyer finished ninth in Stage 2 to earn two bonus points.

●  There were nine caution periods for a total of 39 laps.

●  Only nine of the 40 drivers in the Kentucky 400 finished on the lead lap.

●  Martin Truex Jr. won the Kentucky 400 to score his 10th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his first at Kentucky. Kyle Larson finished second as the race ended under caution.

 

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Our night wasn’t all the best. We needed to be better. We struggled off the truck. I wasn’t exactly pumped about the handling, but we fought hard. Buga (crew chief Mike Bugarewicz) and all the guys worked hard to get me fixed up for the race. We got some track position there and showed some promise, and then the start of that last run, those last two runs, I was junk. Total junk. I just lost too much track position. It is like you adjust to be up front in the clean air and free up and get better and keep freeing up to get better and get in better air, and then all of a sudden you get in the back, adjusted to the front, and you are in big trouble.”

 

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Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Kurt Busch started 15th, finished 14th.

Busch noted a tight-handling condition on his Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion along with a right-front tire vibration at the beginning of the stage.

Busch stayed among the top-15 throughout stage.

Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and wedge adjustments at the conclusion of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Started 10th, finished seventh. Earned four bonus points.

After a lap-95 caution, Busch opted not to pit and preserve his track position. He restarted in the seventh position.

During a lap-138 caution, Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments to restart in the 14th position.

Busch quickly drove back to the top-10 before the conclusion of the stage.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-274):

Started 14th, finished 30th.

Busch said his car was loose into the corners and tight off throughout the stage.

Busch pitted under green-flag conditions for four tires, fuel and adjustments on lap 224. Returned to the race in 13th place.

An axle seal leaked oil in the waning laps, leading to an axle failure on lap 266 that brought out the caution and sent Busch to the garage.

 

Notes:

This was Busch’s seventh Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Kentucky and his 594th career NASCAR Cup Series start.

● There were nine caution periods for a total of 39 laps.

● Only nine of the 40 drivers in the Kentucky 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Martin Truex Jr. won the Kentucky 400 to score his 10th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his first at Kentucky. Kyle Larson finished second as the race ended under caution.

● Larson continues to lead the championship standings with 710 points, but only has a one-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Truex.

 

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

“I sputtered off of turn four and when I looked at the fuel gauge, it was fine. And then it was like everything was welding itself together. I was just trying to nurse it home and didn’t quite get all the way back. I think it just shucked the pinion and it had no power after that. It burned up a gear one lap from the finish. I hate that I’m that guy that jukes up the whole system with throwing a yellow with one to go. It was a long, green-flag run and I thought we were going to be okay with our Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford. Just a bummer. We didn’t need that one.”

 

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Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Danica Patrick started 20th and finished 24th.

● The No. 10 Nature’s Bakery/Feeding America Ford Fusion team went down a lap during the first run but got the free pass when the caution flag waved at lap 30, putting Patrick back on the lead lap.

● The No. 10 team pitted twice during the stage for tires, fuel and adjustments.

● Patrick once again went a lap down to the leader at lap 69 and finished the stage in the 24th position.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):     

Started 24th and finished 16th.

● Patrick got the free pass when the caution flag waved at lap 88, putting her back on the lead lap in the 21st position.

● At lap 93 Patrick made contact with the No. 37 car, and the team pitted for repairs. She restarted the race from the 20th position at lap 99.   

● Patrick continued gaining ground in the final laps of Stage 2 and ended up 16th.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

Started 19th and finished 15th.

● The No. 10 team made a scheduled, green-flag stop at lap 219 for tires and fuel. Patrick went down a lap to the leaders as the cycle of green-flag pit stops was completed.

● Patrick raced her way forward in the second half of the stage and was running 17th when the caution flag waved at lap 266.

● Crew chief Billy Scott called for the team to pit for tires and fuel, and Patrick lined up 18th for the final restart. She was able to pick up several spots before the caution flag waved again and took the checkered flag in the 15th position.

 

Notes:              

● This was Patrick’s fifth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Kentucky and her 172nd career NASCAR Cup series start.

● Patrick’s 15th-place finish in the Kentucky 400 was her first top-15 at Kentucky and her second top-15 this season. The effort also marked Patrick’s career-best NASCAR Cup Series finish at the 1.5-mile track.

● Patrick earned 22 points in Saturday’s race at Kentucky, which puts her at 230 total points for the season thus far. She is ranked 29th in the driver point standings.

● The race finished in overtime, going seven laps past its scheduled 267-lap distance.

● There were nine caution periods for a total of 39 laps.

● Only nine drivers in the 40-car field finished on the lead lap.

● Martin Truex Jr. won the Kentucky 400 to score his 10th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his first at Kentucky. Kyle Larson finished second as the race ended under caution.

● Larson continues to lead the championship standings with 710 points, but only has a one-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Truex.

 

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery/Feeding America Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We weren’t as good as we needed to be at the start, but by the end of the race, I was honestly wishing we had more laps, because I think we could have had an even better finish tonight. All in all, it was a great result for our team, so we’ll take it and move on to New Hampshire.”

 

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Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

●  Kevin Harvick started seventh, finished fourth and scored seven bonus points.

●  The Busch Light Ford came to pit road under the competition caution for two tires, an air pressure adjustment and fuel on lap 32.

●  Reported the car was too tight on both ends throughout the run while racing in the top-five.

 Came to pit road for four tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustments at the conclusion of Stage 1.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

●  Started third, finished fourth and scored seven bonus points.

●  Stayed out under caution in the third position on lap 89 and lap 95.

●  Stayed out under caution in the fourth position on lap 113 and advanced to the second position on the lap-115 restart.

●  Stayed out under caution in the third position on lap 138 and reported the car was tight in turn three.

●  Came to pit road for four tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustment at the conclusion of Stage 2. Several cars opted for a two-tire strategy.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-274):

●  Started 11th, finished ninth.

●  Made a green-flag pit stop while racing in the third position on lap 224 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.

●  Raced from 13th following the lap-224 pit stop back into the top-five by lap 240.

●  Came to pit road under caution on lap 267 while racing in fifth for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.

●  Penalized for too fast entering on pit road in section seven and forced to restart at the tail end of the longest line.

 

Notes:

●  Harvick scored his 11th top-10 finish of 2017 and fifth top-10 in seven career Cup Series starts at Kentucky.

●  Harvick finished fourth in Stage 1 to earn seven bonus points and fourth in Stage 2 to earn an additional seven bonus points.

●  There were nine caution periods for a total of 39 laps.

●  The race featured 10 lead changes among four drivers.

●  Only nine of the 40 drivers in the Kentucky 400 finished on the lead lap.

●  Martin Truex Jr. won the Kentucky 400 to score his 10th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his first at Kentucky. Kyle Larson finished second as the race ended under caution.

●  Larson leads the championship point standings with 710 points and has a one-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Truex.

 

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I guess I just tried to push it a little too hard on pit road and wound up getting a speeding ticket at the wrong time, but luckily there was only nine cars on the lead lap and we were able to salvage something out of the night.”

 

TSC PR

Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team overcame several obstacles to finish the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway in 10th place in overtime.

Blaney qualified the Wood Brothers’ iconic No. 21 sixth and once the green flag flew he fell steadily back as he was battling a loose race car. He finished Stage 1 in 16th place and worked his way back into the top 10 by lap 116 of the scheduled 267.

“It was a long night for sure,” Blaney said. “I thought we started off okay but we just lost the handling there pretty early and lost track position.”

A pit road speeding penalty pushed the Wood Brothers’ car back to 22nd place while pitting after a lap-137 caution period.

“I made it worse by speeding,” Blaney added.

He worked his way up to 18th by the end of Stage 2 then stayed on the track between segments rather than pit and re-started second.

“We made a good call to stay out and get some track position back but we were falling off the pace pretty bad,” Blaney explained.

He pitted under green on lap 208 and by the time all teams had made their stops, Blaney was running in seventh. He was in 11th position a lap down for the start of the first overtime in Kentucky Speedway history.

Before the caution that ended the race, Blaney made his way into 10th place securing his seventh top-10 finish of the 2017 season.

“We fought hard and never gave up though and ended up 10th,” he said. “Not the night you want by any means. We need to go back and try to improve on it a lot. I think we battled back and the finish is not bad for how the night went.”

Blaney remains seventh in the NASCAR Playoffs standings with his Pocono win and eight playoff points.

Ford Performance PR

Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Roush Performance Products Ford Fusion, battled inside the top 15 for much of the early portion of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) event at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night, driving up to as high as the 11th position following a Lap 92 restart. However, contact with the No. 5 car on Lap 94 sent the Roush Fenway Racing Ford into the outside retaining wall, severely damaging the right rear and ultimately ending Bayne’s night early. Bayne is scored with a 37th-place finish.

“I hate that that happened,” said Bayne after the race. ”We were making our way forward with our Roush Performance Products Ford and were knocking on the door of the top-10 before we got all that damage. I hate that we won’t get the result we deserve but we will recover and rebound. This team never gives up and we will get after it again next week in New Hampshire.”

Bayne took the green flag for the 267-Lap event from the 19th position after advancing to the second round of qualifying on Friday afternoon. The driver of the Roush Performance Products Ford battled a tight-handling condition for much of the first run but maintained his track position inside the top 20 until the competition caution came out on Lap 30. After pitting for four tires and a chassis adjustment, Bayne returned to the track in the 21st position.

When the race restarted on Lap 35 Bayne charged forward, improving five positions to 16th before the Roush Performance Products Ford once again shifted toward the tight side on the exit of the corners. Despite not handling to his liking, Bayne continued to fight for position before taking the green and checkered flag for Stage 1 in the 17th position.

When Stage 2 went green on Lap 87 Bayne narrowly avoided a multi-car incident in the third and fourth corner, moving the Roush Fenway driver into the top 15 and up to 12th. Bayne wasted little time moving forward when the race went back green on Lap 92, utilizing the outside line to move into 11th. Unfortunately, contact with the No. 5 just two laps later on Lap 94 sent Bayne into the wall, severely damaging the rear of the Roush Performance Products Ford.

Crew chief Matt Puccia called the Roush Fenway driver to pit road several times for repairs before sending Bayne back out onto the track on Lap 107 in the hopes of regaining any track position that could be available. After running four laps, Bayne got loose and lost control coming out of the fourth corner, sending him on a long slide. Bayne ultimately took the car behind the wall where the damage was deemed too severe to continue.

In the end, Bayne is scored with a 37th-place finish. 

RFR PR

 

SPARTA, Ky-- After crashing out early in the Quaker State 400, Brad Keselowski has strong and stern words.

 

Keselowski wrecked out of the race on lap 89. Keselowski lost control of his Ford trying to get to the bottom lane, collecting Jimmie Johnson, putting him out of the race as well.

 

“I just wrecked it. It stinks. I got loose into three. I was underneath the 14. I was trying to lay up and give room but just spun out as soon as I got anywhere near the corner. I wrecked myself and a bunch of other guys. It is part of it I guess, but not a part that you have to like,” Keselowski explained about the accident. “It is part of the deal when you race at these types of tracks where it is one groove with this car and the way it is designed. You have to find a way around it and I didn’t find a way around it.”

 

Keselowski and his No. 2 Miller Lite Ford did not have speed throughout the weekend.

 

“It is frustrating. We weren’t as fast as we wanted to be today. That is always frustrating. I am probably as much frustrated with myself as I am frustrated with the situation and frustrated with the sport that we can’t design a better car than this that you can race without having to do everything on the restart. That is all part of it I guess. It is where we are right now," Keselowski stated.

 

 

Keselowski praised Kentucky Speedway and Speedway Motorsports Inc. officials about listening to running the tire dragon in the middle groove. However, Keselowski stated that it was still a one groove racetrack.

 

“They made a good effort. It was better than nothing but there are limitations,” said Keselowski.

 

Keselowski contributed the one groove racetrack to the design of the Gen Six the series currently is running.

 

“The way this car is, it needs a lot more help than a Tire Dragon. It is a poorly designed race car and it makes racing on tracks like this very difficult to put on the show we want to put on for our fans. You do what you can to gouge and claw on the restarts and get everything you can get,” said Keselowski. “You have to put yourself in bad situations to do that and that is where we were. If you don’t make those moves on the restarts, then you run in the back. Or you have a bad day. The scenario that the car design, more than the track.”

 

After cooling off from the heat of the moment, Keselowski went to social media to clarify his comments:

 

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Keselowski is accredited with a 39th place finish.

SPARTA, K.y— For what could be his final weekend in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, Bubba Wallace, Jr. has showed significant improvement in his short time filling in for Aric Almirola.

 

After an 11th place finish, Wallace was pleased with how the day went.

 

“It was a good run for our Smithfield Ford. We had a lot of fun tonight. We just fell off a lot, a lot more than the other guys. We are trying to balance that out. We took a two-tire strategy there that kind of hurt us,” said Wallace about his run at Kentucky. “We fell back on that one restart. We were able to manage and maintain and work out some track position on that green-flag stop and we were 14th and fired off right around there for the last restart and was able to hang on. It was a good day.

 

In just his fourths start in the Cup level, Wallace is beginning to make a name for himself. Every time he has been in the car, Wallace has finished better than the race prior. He has completed 795 of 797 laps (99.7%) Wallace notices that improvement:

 

“That was cool. We kept improving. Each and every time on the race track, each and every race. We kept improving, I kept improving. I am getting more and more comfortable with these cars.”

 

Wallace noticed that his improvement came on restarts.

 

“I learned my lesson at Michigan running halfway aggressive. I didn’t give anybody any breaks on these restarts. I may have pissed a couple people off but oh well. I needed to do what I needed to do to keep our track position. The repaves make it really tough for passing so you want to get all you can on restarts.”

 

Despite the rumors around silly season, Wallace isn’t too concerned about them. His focus has turned into trying to find some sponsorship and a ride to continue competing in the Cup level.

 

“I don’t know what is next for next weekend. I might get a call, I might not. If not, best of luck to Aric and the 43 team. I will play a lot of golf and try to get better at that. I will be on some phone calls trying to get something,” said Wallace.

 

Despite not knowing if he will continue in the Cup series after this weekend, Wallace is determined that he won’t be gone for long.

 

“I won’t be gone too long, at least I hope not. It is a bittersweet moment.”

 

On Wednesday, Almirola is slated to give an update on his progress after the injury he sustained in May at Kansas Speedway.

 

For the “old-school” fan in NASCAR, Kentucky Speedway offered what they wanted: the “good ole days.”

 

The older fan in NASCAR tends to focus on how “terrible” the racing is today and how back in the day during the era of Richard Petty and Bobby Allison was better than the on-track product NASCAR produces today.

 

The Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway mixed in the new and old age of NASCAR. The race at Kentucky Speedway was dominated by Martin Truex, Jr. and Kyle Busch, who combined led all but 10 laps during the race. 

 

Taking away the fact that this was a repave, this race reminded fans today of what NASCAR’s “golden” era provided, single file racing and barely any passes for the lead. 

 

NASCAR and Kentucky Speedway officials did their best effort by running the tire dragon in the middle and lower grooves before and during the race weekend, but that made no difference whatsoever in the overall quality of the event.

 

Across the board, everyone hates repaves on racetracks. However, new repaved lives matter. You have to applaud every plausible effort NASCAR and Kentucky Speedway did to make the racing here exciting, but the race did not provide that excitement. 

 

Despite being a new repave, NASCAR did not bring a new aero package to “test” at Kentucky Speedway. Did that change the potential of the race? Absolutely. 

 

Although there were bursts of excitement on the restarts, Kentucky Speedway provided single-groove racing. 

 

“I mean the track is to me, it’s just really lane sensitive, so you have to be right on the bottom it is pretty much the quickest way.  So, the restarts are all you’ve got.  I mean it’s Kentucky.  It was like this last year if I remember,” said Kasey Kahne. 

 

Did stage racing save the Quaker State 400 from absolute disaster? 

 

“Stage racing and all these restarts, the fact that it is so hard to pass there is just an environment that is created with this style of racing.  You’ve got to get everything you can on a restart and everybody is at ten tenths.  The old days of pointing someone by or maybe letting somebody go until your tires came in are long gone,” said Jimmie Johnson. 

 

What can be done to save racing on repaves? Brad Keselowski believes that something can be done with the cars. “It is time for the sport to design a new car that is worthy of where this sport deserves to be and the show it deserves to put on for its fans,” said Keselowski. 

 

Martin Truex, Jr. responded to Keselowski’s comments: “He's on the driver's council.  He's a big part of the lower downforce and he's a big part of the direction everybody is going.  So yeah, he was probably just mad because he got wrecked.”

 

NASCAR is working day in and day out to making the competition on the track better. Where will this lead us? Only time will tell! 

 

For the old school fan, this race should satisfy how great the racing was “back in the day” with follow the leader racing. If it wasn’t for the free pass and wave around, we could have saw only a handful of the cars on the lead lap instead of nine.

 

However, the racing we saw tonight at Kentucky Speedway, despite it being a repave, is not how the sport will attract the younger fan base, a base that NASCAR so desperately needs for it to be around in the future. It is time for the older fans to sit back and enjoy the racing we currently have.

 

SPARTA, Ky-- In dominating fashion and battling NASCAR Overtime, Martin Truex Jr. was victorious in the Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway. Truex led a total of 152 laps. 

 

“I thought we were dead. I thought we were done. It’s just – this is completely unbelievable. I’m so excited to win here. It felt like we had a shot last year and it got away from us on fuel mileage and just wanted to win here so so bad after that. This is sweet redemption," said Truex Jr. "I got to say hi to Sherry (Pollex) back home. She didn’t make it this weekend, so I love you babe. And all these awesome fans, thank you guys so much for coming out. What an awesome crowd. I hope they enjoyed it and that was a whole lot of fun. “


This is Truex Jr's 10th career win. This is his third career win of 2017. He scores his 12th stage win of the season.

 

After starting in the back of the field due to inspection issues in qualifying and receiving a penalty on pit road in the early stages of the race, Kyle Larson finished second.

 

“Yeah, I sped on pit road there early.  At the end of that first stage, so it felt very similar to Texas earlier this year.  Didn’t get to qualify, had a pit road penalty at the end of the first stage.  Went from the back to the front and then we had scuffs on one run and got the balance off pretty bad, but were able to put stickers on and charge back to the front.  The Target Chevy was good," said Larson. "Truex though, never got to see him that last run he was upwards of 15 seconds ahead of us.  That was pretty crazy.  He has definitely been the fastest car all year.  So, got some work to do, but if we can keep chasing him, I think we can beat him.”

 

Chase Elliott finished third after being a silent contender for much of the race.

 

"I had a really good roll there.  Got to the bottom of the No. 77 and got far enough up next to him to get underneath him into (Turn) 1 and that got us a couple more spots there which was nice.  From where we started the night to where we ended up was a big improvement with our Napa Chevrolet," said Elliott "Happy we could just execute well tonight.  I don’t think we were as good at Martin (Truex, Jr.) or Kyle (Larson), but we did our jobs on pit road and I made the most of a good car.”

Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-10.

 

Only nine drivers finished on the lead lap. There were 10 lead changes among four different drivers. There were nine cautions for 39 laps. The time of race was two hours, 57 minutes, and 55 seconds. The average speed was 138.604 mph.

 

Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is a trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Overton's 301. The race will be broadcasted on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network at 3:00 p.m EDT.