Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-25):
● Kyle Busch started ninth and finished seventh, earning four bonus points.
● After Busch reported that his racecar lacked rear grip, the team elected to make a trip to pit road for chassis and air pressure adjustments and four fresh tires on lap nine. The competition caution waved one lap later with Busch in 19th place.
● Because the M&M’S team had stopped right before the caution, Busch lined up 11th for the restart on lap 13.
● The second caution was displayed for an accident on lap 19 with Busch in seventh place. A handful of teams, including the No. 18, elected to make a trip to pit road for service. It was another round of chassis and air pressure adjustments, four tires and fuel for Busch.
● Green-flag racing resumed on lap 22 with Busch in 13th place. He was able to race his way to seventh by the time Stage 1 concluded.
● Busch reported at the end of the stage that he still needed help with rear grip. Teams that had not pitted prior to the end of the stage came to pit road, which placed the No. 18 Toyota in second place to start Stage 2.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 26-50):
● Busch started second and finished first, earning 10 bonus points and one playoff point.
● Green-flag racing resumed, and Busch made a bid for the lead during the opening lap of Stage 2, taking over first place.
● Caution waved for a single-car accident on lap 33. The No. 18 team elected to stay out during the caution, maintaining the top spot.
● Green-flag racing resumed on lap 35 with Busch in the lead.
● The two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion quietly logged laps for the rest of the stage, cruising to lap 50 and scoring the stage win.
● During the caution the team made another round of chassis and air pressure adjustments, changed four tires and added fuel. Busch won the race off pit road, but because a number of teams had made green-flag pit stops prior to the conclusion of Stage 2, the No. 18 lined up 20th to start the final stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 51-109):
● Busch started 20th and finished fourth.
● A couple of cautions slowed the opening laps of the final stage. The Las Vegas native quietly logged laps and was up to 16th place when green-flag pit stops started taking place on lap 74.
● The No. 18 M&M’S team made a trip to pit road for service for four tires and fuel on lap 75.
● Busch was up to 13th place when caution was displayed for debris on lap 86. He reported that the No. 18 car still lacked grip at various points on the road course. Anticipating a series of cautions to end the race, the team elected to only change four tires and add fuel during the caution.
● Green-flag racing resumed on lap 89 with Busch in 13th place, and he was up to 10th by lap 91.
● Busch had raced his way to eighth place when caution waved for a single-car accident in turn one on lap 99.
● Green-flag racing resumed on lap 101, and Busch was able to make the most of the restart, moving from eighth up to fifth by the time the field came around to complete lap 102. He picked up one more position to finish the day in fourth place and advance to the Round of 8 in the 10-race playoffs.
● Busch’s fourth-place finish is his 13th top-five and 19th top-10 of 2021.
● Busch’s fourth-place result is his best finish in four career starts at the 2.28-mile, 17-turn road course.
● Busch led one time for a total of 21 laps.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“Overall, it was a good day for the M&M’S Camry. We came here with a plan, and we tried to execute it as best we could. I would say we were just OK. I wouldn’t call us stellar. We did lead that stage and get a point there, so that was good, but we’re moving on and have some tracks that have been good for us. We have won at both Texas and Kansas within the last year, so I feel like that’s a good omen for us. The mile-and-a-half programs have been really strong for us. We should have a pretty good starting spot next week, and we just have to keep ourselves up front. Just looking forward to next week.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 on Sunday, Oct. 17, at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. It is the seventh race of the 10-race playoffs and the first race in the Round of 8. It starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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