BRISTOL, Tenn.— For the second time in his career, Kyle Busch will sweep the August race weekend Bristol Motor Speedway.
“Man, it’s just great to have a guy like that. This M&M’s Caramel Camry was awesome tonight. Adam Stevens and these guys they never quit working on it. Every single pit stop we kept working on it, kept adjusting on it, so I can’t say enough about his Toyota Camry, everybody at TRD – want to thank Interstate Batteries, NOS Energy Drink, Cessna, DVX Sunglasses and of course the fans,” said Busch. “This is for Rowdy Nation. Rowdy Nation’s really what fuels us to get ‘em out, to get around and get along and all the noise is good noise, that’s how I feel about it. These M&M’s Caramels are going to be celebrating tonight.”
This is Ky. Busch’s second victory of 2017. This is his 14th top-10 finish of the season. This is his sixth career victory at Bristol.
After running up front all night and a late race charge to battle Ky. Busch, Erik Jones finished second.
“It’s a bummer, I mean you can’t lie. I thought we had a really good day and we fought hard all day. We had our ups and downs and led a lot of laps and didn’t have quite enough at the end,” said Jones. “Kyle (Busch) is really good here. But we had a good 5-Hour Energy Camry. Just needed a little more at the end. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t have it. I did what I could, but it just wasn’t quite enough.”
Being the silent contender most of the night in a satisfying yet disappoint finish, Denny Hamlin finished third.
“Half and half. Definitely with the track position, we definitely could have held those guys off. We caught them a little bit in that last run, but I restarted on the bottom so many times that it’s one of those weekends where I would love that cone rule where you can pick what lane you want to go in on restarts. I’d be willing to start 12th on the outside versus third on the inside. It’s just I got killed on restarts all day, but we did a really good job of bouncing back and good finish,” said Hamlin.
Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Trevor Bayne, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-10.
There were 21 lead changes six different drivers. Jones led the most laps at 260. The caution flag flew eight times for 53 laps. The average speed of the race was 95.970 mph. Ky. Busch and Kenseth won the first two stages. The time of race was two hours, 46 minutes, and 37 seconds.
Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is an off weekend before the Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR at Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles Southern 500.
Following an altercation on pit road, Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has suspended Lee Cunningham and Chris Taylor, pit crew members on Martin Truex Jr.'s car.
The altercation took place after Truex and Kyle Busch wrecked each other coming off the second turn at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Lap 112.
NASCAR on FOX was the first to report the incident:
Barney Visser, Furntiture Row Racing (FRR) owner, released a statement following the announcement:
"Our No. 78 pit crew is hired, trained and managed by Joe Gibbs Racing. They are one of the best pit crews on the circuit and have kept us up front all season. We admire the talent and dedication of our pit crew and support all of the decisions and actions taken by Joe Gibbs Racing."
Kip Wolfmeier and John Royer will take their respective positions during the suspensions of Cunningham and Taylor.
FRR and JGR have a technical alliance. Both teams share technical information, pit crews, and car chassis.
INDIANAPOLIS— In a race that looked like it was going to be won by the Toyota Racing teammates of Kyle Busch or Martin Truex Jr, the day ended in fire and smoke at the beginning of the final stage.
Throughout the restarts, Busch and Truex were playing the teammate game on restarts letting the other get ahead momentarily. When the field was exiting the second turn, Truex washed up the track collecting Busch, who was leading the race. Busch dominated the first two stage by winning both stages and leading 87 laps.
Both cars suffered heavy damage after hitting the wall.
Busch expressed his frustration with another weekend being lost by dumb mistakes.
“I guess we could have continued to play the teammate game and try to settle it on a green flag pit stop, but he could be that much faster than me and yard me by three seconds on a run with the clean air then I would never be able to get the opportunity to pass him back even if we had to settle it on a pit stop,” said Busch. “That’s the way it goes, just chalk it up to another one that we figure out how to lose these things by. It’s very frustrating and I hate it for my guys, they build such fast Toyota Camrys and the Skittles Camry was really good again today. Had wanted to go out there and put ourselves in the record books for three in a row, but not happening.”
“I just got loose and wrecked him (Kyle Busch) I guess, totally my fault. Didn’t really know what to expect in that position and didn’t really realize that he was going to drive in that deep and suck me around. I will take the blame for that and obviously it was my fault,” said Truex. “I hate it for Kyle (Busch), he had a great car and we did as well, but that’s racing. Glad I was able to get out, fire was bad. I had no brakes and I had to run into the wall a second time just to get it to stop so I could get out. Fortunately I’m okay and we’ll live to race another day.”
Busch could have went for history this weekend at Indianapolis by becoming the first driver to win three in a row at famous speedway in NASCAR. Busch’s level of disappointment is a 10 out of a 10.
Busch was accredited with a 34th place finish while Truex is accredited with a 33rd place finish.
Despite earning the pole position, Kyle Larson will start from the rear of the field in the Overton’s 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
During post-qualifying inspection, NASCAR found the car to have an unapproved rear deck fin lid. Larson’s time was disallowed. Martin Truex Jr. will start from the pole.
According to NASCAR, the rear deck fin lid passed pre-qualifying inspection, but was considered out of spec in post-race qualifying. The rear deck fin lid was found to have been moved lower during qualifying. The part is not designed to adjust, but NASCAR found that the part was made to adjust.
"Not the way we wanted to get our first pole of the year, but looking forward to starting up front and getting a good pit stall,” said Truex. This will be his first pole of the season. Truex posted a speed of 133.077 mph.
Truex will start from the pole. Jimmie Johnson will start second, Matt Kenseth will start third, Jamie McMurray will start fourth, and Kasey Kahne will round out the top-five.
There will be no further penalties for Larson’s team.
With the announcement of Erik Jones returning to Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in 2017, the future of Furniture Row Racing (FRR) remaining a two-car organization came into question.
The announcement of Jones leaving FRR was expedited after Matt Kenseth made comments last weekend at Kentucky Speedway that he would not be returning to JGR in 2018.
Currently, Jones pilots the No. 77 Toyota for FRR. The car number currently has a charter, purchased from Premium Motorsports over the 2016 offseason.
“It was exciting going to two cars and I know it was something that Barney has thought about and talked about for a long time and I know his plans originally were not for this team to be a one year deal,” said Truex Jr. about the organization moving to a two car organization in 2017.
Truex has seen improvements in the young team throughout the season. Being the veteran driver, Truex has seen the benefits of having a teammate like Jones.
“I’ve enjoyed working with Erik (Jones). He’s been a good teammate. He’s a great kid. Love talking to him and hearing his point of view and things, so it would have been nice to have him for a couple years,” Truex stated. “That program I feel like just keeps getting stronger each and every week and they had a good run last weekend and it’s a shame to see that happen that quickly
Reiterating what he said at Kentucky, Barney Visser, team owner, released a statement about the future of FRR being a two car organization.
"We are working on our team plans for 2018 but don't have anything concrete to report at this time except that Martin Truex Jr. will continue to drive the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota,” Visser stated.
Despite 2018 plans being up in the air, Truex Jr. doesn’t believe the organization would change if they went back to a one car organization. Truex believes the strongest part of the team is that everybody know what they are doing really well.
“We’ve got a really, really tight group of guys that have done a good job working together over the last few year and have a lot of trust and confidence in each other and I think one of the strongest parts of our team is just everybody doing their own jobs and understanding what they are and doing them really well, so I don’t see anything changing,” said Truex.
Despite the uncertain future for a two car organization. Truex is leaving those issues to Visser and Joe Garone, FRR team president.
“I’ll leave that up to Barney (Visser, team owner) and Joe (Garone, team president) and everybody that runs the show,” said Truex.
Truex has scaled to 28 playoff points over the 2017 season. He has three wins, six top-fives, and 12 top-10 finishes. He has lead 1,115 laps.
In his inaugural season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Jones has one top-five, five top-10’s, and has led 31 laps.