Busch Wins in Wild Martinsville Finish

Kyle Busch

“We weren’t the best all day, but we put ourselves in the right spots there at the end and there was kind of chaos ensuing and none of it was our fault, we just came out on the right end of the stick.” (Photo: Getty Images)

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Kyle Busch won Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway in a wild finish to punch his ticket to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Busch survived a chaotic ending to Sunday’s race to outrun Martin Truex Jr. to the checkered flag in overtime to score the victory.

Denny Hamlin and Chase Ellliott were involved in a controversial crash (Read More) to bring out a caution and the overtime finish that Busch was able to prevail in on his way to Victory Lane.

“Awesome to get to victory lane here at Martinsville,” Busch said. “You know I wanted to win Charlotte, Martinsville and Homestead and that’ll make us this year’s champions, so we’ve got one more. Just wanted to say our guys did an awesome job preparing this car.

“We weren’t the best all day, but we put ourselves in the right spots there at the end and there was kind of chaos ensuing and none of it was our fault, we just came out on the right end of the stick.”

Busch led a race-high 184 laps to score his fifth win of the season.

Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five.

Trevor Bayne, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. completed the first ten finishers.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Texas Motor Speedway next Sunday afternoon.

How Busch Won: The run to the checkered flag was set-up by drama that unfolded a few laps earlier when Denny Hamlin got into the rear bumper of leader Chase Elliott. The contact sent Elliott around, tempers flared and caution flew. On the ensuing restart it was Busch getting by Hamlin for the top spot and he was able to out race Truex Jr. to the checkered flag while a huge accident broke out behind him as he crossed the start-finish line.

Who Had a Good Day: Busch had the best day with the win and advancement to Homestead to run for the championship but Truex Jr.’s second-place finish, his best career effort at Martinsville, helped him add to his point total and he is in great shape in the standings with only two races left in the third round (Read More)…Bowyer had his sixth top-five of the year and first since Watkins Glen…Keselowski had his fourth straight Martinsville top-five finish (Read More)…Harvick had his first top-five finish at Martinsville since 2011 (Read More).

Who Had a Bad Day: The worst day belonged to Elliott, who was within a couple laps of his first career Cup win until his incident with Hamlin. He ended up 27th and dropped to the bottom of the playoff standings…AJ Allmendinger was the first car out of the race when he exited after contact in an accident with Danica Patrick…Kyle Larson, who was eliminated from the playoffs last week at Kansas with a blown engine was knocked out of Sunday’s race with damage and finished 37th.

What Else Happened: The chaos at the end of the race was the biggest story of the day. Elliott got around Keselowski for the lead and had the top spot before Hamlin got to his rear bumper with just two laps to go. They made contact several times before Hamlin finally drove into the rear end of Elliott’s car so hard it turned him around to bring out the caution. “I just went too deep,” Hamlin explained after. Elliott had a much different explanation; “I got punted from behind and wrecked leading the race,” said Elliott, who finished 27th. “He’s not even worth my time and we’re moving onto Texas.”

Quotable: "Can't eat an elephant in one bite," Chad Knaus to Jimmie Johnson just prior to starting last in the race.

Notable: Busch won the fourth race of the season that was decided by a last lap pass…Johnson had his fifth finish outside the top 10 at Martinsville in the last seven races…Elliott led 123 laps, the second most he had ever led in a race.

 

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