Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry
Race Recap for the YellaWood 500
Date: Oct. 4, 2021
Event: YellaWood 500 (Round 31 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval)
Format: 188 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/68 laps)
Note: Race ended 71 laps short of the scheduled 188-lap distance due to rain.
Start/Finish: 2nd/27th (Running, completed 117 of 117 laps)
Point Standing: 8th (3,084 points, 9 points ahead of top-8 cutoff)
Race Winner: Bubba Wallace of 23XI Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Chris Buescher of Roush Fenway Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Bubba Wallace of 23XI Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):
● Kyle Busch started second and finished 16th.
● A big push from behind propelled the M&M’S driver to the lead on the opening lap. He maintained the top spot for the first six laps.
● The first caution was the competition caution on lap 25 with Busch in 17th place. He reported that the car was handling a little on the loose side but didn’t need any adjustments. The team made a trip to pit road for right-side tires and fuel.
● Racing resumed with Busch in ninth place.
● An accident along the frontstretch on lap 57 brought out the caution. This resulted in Stage 1 ending under caution, with Busch scored in 16th place.
● The team made a trip to pit road for four tires and fuel before starting Stage 2.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-117):
● Busch started 12th and finished 27th.
● Caution was displayed on lap 66 for a single-car accident. The majority of the field made a trip to pit road to top off their fuel, including the No. 18 M&M’S team. Busch lined up eighth for the restart.
● Busch held within the pack inside the top-20 and hoped to march toward the front to get some Stage 2 points.
● Bad luck struck Busch on lap 99 when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. turned playoff driver Alex Bowman. As Bowman spun near the outside wall, Tyler Reddick came down the track trying to avoid Bowman and spun Busch coming out of turn four.
● Busch came to pit road to the attention of the M&M’S team, and the No. 18 crew used several more pit stops to address the damage. Their efforts got Busch back out on the track and making minimum speed.
● As the laps wound down in Stage 2, rain was on the horizon, and the competitors knew they might be racing for the checkered flag.
● With just three laps to go in the stage, another accident occurred at the front of the pack, taking out a few other cars and another playoff contender, William Byron. Busch was at the tail end of the pack hoping to get a caution to get caught up and have a chance to race back up toward the front.
● The race was red flagged before the stage would end, as Busch ran in 27th place. Sustained rain eventually forced NASCAR to call the race, with 71 laps remaining in the 188-lap scheduled distance.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“We could have been wrecked worse and further down the running order. But definitely frustrated with how many other guys got through the chaos there today. Certainly wished we could have raced it out to see where we ended up with our M&M’S Camry. We’ll just head to Charlotte and hope to have a 10th-place day or better and make sure we don’t have any mistakes, and that should get us through the next round.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Bank of America Roval 400 on Sunday, Oct. 10, at the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway road course. It is the sixth race of the 10-race playoffs and the final race in the Round of 12. It starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.