Kurt Busch Wins Stage 1 of the Daytona 500

Written by –  Adrian Beecher
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kurt Busch in the No. 41 took the Green White Checkered under caution at the end of stage 1 to capture the first stage win of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Here’s your full recap of stage 1 from Daytona.

Alex Bowman in the No. 88 started on the pole but would relinquish the lead quickly to Denny Hamlin in the No. 11. Hamlin would lead through lap eight when the first caution of the day as the No. 72 of Corey LaJoie blew an engine ending his day.

During the caution, disaster struck for Hamlin as he pitted outside the box. This would result in a 1-lap penalty from NASCAR, putting him a lap down.

After the caution, the new leader was Kurt Busch in the No. 41. Bowman would regain the lead just two laps later.

Over the next 15 laps, twice the driver in the 5th position would get shuffled out f the field after having trouble. First, it was Kasey Kahne in the No. 95 on lap 14 who got loose out of turn four and had to take a speedy ride down pit road that dropped him back to 37th. Then on lap 29, it was Kyle Busch in the No. 18 running in 5th at the time as well getting a flat left rear tire. This forced him to take a green flag pit stop and dropped him back to 38th a lap down.

With 15 laps left in the 1st 60 lap stage, Chase Elliott in the No. 9 was in the lead, battling with Joey Logano in the No. 22. Logano and Elliot would trade the lead for the next five laps. Then the caution came out again.

The 2nd caution of the day was for an incident with Kyle Busch in the No. 18 cut down a tire in turn 3 and took a hit on the tail while spinning from the No. 96 of DJ Kennington. Jamie McMurray in the No.1 was involved as well and took damage.

Gray Gaulding in the No. 23 was the beneficiary, getting back on the lead lap in 33rd place. They would get back to the green flag with just five laps left in the stage. On the final lap of the stage, a big one happened as Ryan Blaney in the No. 12 tried to make a move on Stenhouse Jr. in the 17 for 2nd place. Blaney got into the back of Stenhouse Jr., who then got loose and got into the No. 20 of Erik Jones who then got into Kyle Larson in the No. 42, who clipped the No. 19 of Suarez, who hit the outside wall hard. Collected in the carnage was Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48, whose car was destroyed. Ty Dillion in the No. 13 ran into Erik Jones in the No. 20 nose first taking Dillon out of the race. Others involved were William Byron in the No. 24, and Martin Truex Jr. in the No. 78.

The wreck would end the stage with Kurt Busch in the No. 41 in the lead, winning the stage.  The accident eliminated Erik Jones, Jimmie Johnson, Daniel Suarez, and Ty Dillon.

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