Denies Chase Elliott His First Career Win
October 1, 2017 - Kyle Busch made a sensational late-race charge and a last-lap outside pass on Chase Elliott to win Sunday afternoon’s Apache Warrior 400 at Dover International Speedway, while Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne, and Kurt Busch were eliminated from the Monster Energy NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Playoffs.
The victory was the fourth this year for Busch, his second in the last two weekends, his third at the 1-mile Dover International Speedway, and the 42nd of his Cup Series career.
“It’s no doubt the moment that you live for,” Busch said of his battle with Elliott. “It’s the moment that all these guys live for.”
“Just we kept working on it all day long,” he added. “We kept making adjustments to it every pit stop, every chance we got and Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys did a really, really good job of that and I think the biggest thing there at the end was just having a little bit fewer, fresher lap tires than Chase (Elliott) did.”
Busch led three times for 30 of the 400 laps, including the final two laps. He took the lead with a high-side pass of Elliot as the two took the white flag. Elliott led a career-high 138 laps only to lose for the 70th time in his Cup career.
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“It was all just lap traffic dependent” Elliott said. “I thought if I had a clean track, I could have run as fast as he did, but I didn't, and I should have done something different. So that's just on me, and he did a better job than I did. At the end of the day that's what it comes down to.”
Busch beat Elliott by less than a half-second after coming from almost four seconds behind in the previous 20 laps.
Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., and Kyle Larson completed the top-5 in the last race of the three-race set that opened the Playoff series. Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danial Suarez, Jamie McMurry, and Brad Keselowski completed the top-10.
The race was slowed only four times, twice at the end of the first and second stages, once when Jeffrey Earnhardt wrecked on pit road on lap 86 and another to clean fluid on the track from Reed Sorenson’s ailing car. Keselowski led at the first stage of 120 laps and Larson led at the second stage, also of 120 laps.
Twelve of the 16 drivers in the Playoff series for the NASCAR Cup advanced to Round 2, which begins next Sunday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway. They are (by car number) McMurray, Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Busch, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Blaney, Elliott, Larson, Johnson and Truex.
“We’ve got to win Charlotte,” Busch said. “Apparently, I haven’t won there before, so I need to go get that win and check that one off the list and that will put us into the next round and we’ll go from there.”