Kyle Busch claims victory at ISM Raceway after wild race in the desert

Kyle Busch won the Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix clinching his spot in the Championship 4 at Homestead next week. Busch led 117 laps in route to his eighth win of the 2018 season.

Brad Keselowski finished second, Kyle Larson third, Aric Almirola fourth and Kevin Harvick finished fifth.

Harvick captured the pole on Friday and led the field to the green flag. Even though Harvick led the majority of the laps in Stage 1, it wasn’t really a dominating performance. Joey Logano who had already clinched a spot in the Championship 4 struggled during the stage. Logano complained about the car not turning and lost many spots.

While leading, Harvick had the right-front tire go flat and that forced him to pit in the closing laps of Stage 1. Harvick finished the stage in the 30th position.

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Chase Elliott benefited from Harvick’s troubles and won Stage 1 followed by Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Keselowski.

Elliott was able to keep the lead after pit stops but Kurt Busch took the lead on the restart of Stage 2.  Harvick, who was one lap down after the flat tire, began working his way back to the front.  Within 10 laps, Harvick was able to get himself in the free-pass position if a caution came out.

Things went Harvick’s way when Joey Logano crashed on Lap 95, ending Logano’s day and Harvick received the free pass in the 22nd position.

The green flag came out again on lap 104 with Kurt Busch in the lead.

Bowyer’s championship hopes came to an end when he hit the wall hard in Turns 3-4, bringing out a caution flag.  During the caution, Kurt Busch was hit with a costly penalty for passing the pace car on his entry to pit road and was held back one lap.

Truex led the field for the restart with 10 laps left in Stage 2 but Kyle Busch was able to take his lead away. This resulted in Busch winning Stage 2 followed by Keselowski, Truex, Harvick and Larson.

The final stage began with Kyle Busch leading with key Playoff drivers trying to take away important positions. Harvick made his way back up to the top 10 after the flat tire positioning him in seventh. Almirola and Truex also remained around the top 10.

Elliott took the lead from Kyle Busch on Lap 225. A caution came out on Lap 228 after the No. 97 car spun. Elliott sped on pit road which was a huge setback in his hopes of making it into the Championship 4. This made him give up the lead and restart in the back.

With less than 100 laps to go the aggression started to build within the Playoff drivers. Elliott was trying to overcome his pit road penalty while Harvick and Kurt Busch were battling as they were separated by just one point for the final spot in the Playoffs.

A caution came out with 50 laps left when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. slammed into the wall bringing out a red flag. Different strategies came into effect with the Playoff drivers. Kurt Busch stayed on the track while almost everyone else elected to pit.

Eric Jones and Kurt Busch led the field to the restart with 44 laps to left. It only took one lap after the restart for a wreck to happen. Hamlin went into the side of Kurt Busch’s car and they both wrecked each other and collected Elliott as well. This ended both Kurt Busch’s and Elliott’s championship hopes.

Nearing the end of the race a caution came out within the last 25 laps when Bowman’s car caught on fire. This set up Almirola in the fourth position putting him in contention to steal a win and a spot at the championship next week.  Restarting second with less than 15 laps to go was his best opportunity but he was never able to make it to the front in the final laps of the race and finished fourth.

Now we turn to the season finale next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway where a new champion will be crowned.

Championship 4

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Martin Truex Jr.
  4. Kevin Harvick

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race
Unofficial Race Results for the 31St Annual Can-Am 500 – Sunday, November 11, 2018
ISM Raceway – Avondale, AZ – 1 Mile Paved

Pos St Car Driver Team Make
1 6 18 Kyle Busch (P) M&M’s Toyota
2 12 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Holiday Knitwear Ford
3 8 42 Kyle Larson DC Solar Chevrolet
4 18 10 Aric Almirola (P) Smithfield Ford
5 1 4 Kevin Harvick (P) Busch Light Ford
6 21 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna Chevrolet
7 17 6 Matt Kenseth Wyndham Rewards Ford
8 15 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol e15 Chevrolet
9 19 24 William Byron # Hertz Chevrolet
10 30 43 Bubba Wallace # U.S. Air Force Chevrolet
11 22 31 Ryan Newman Cat Global Mining Chevrolet
12 24 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet
13 10 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Ground Toyota
14 13 78 Martin Truex Jr. (P) Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota
15 20 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s Power of Pride Chevrolet
16 23 34 Michael McDowell Love’s/Luber Finer Ford
17 7 20 Erik Jones Sirius XM Toyota
18 25 37 Chris Buescher Gain Chevrolet
19 28 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Military Chevrolet
20 31 38 David Ragan Trident Seafoods Wild Alaska Pollock Ford
21 27 32 Matt DiBenedetto Can-Am/Wholey Ford
22 29 95 Regan Smith Procore Chevrolet
23 2 9 Chase Elliott (P) NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet
24 33 15 Ross Chastain(i) Ternio Chevrolet
25 34 72 Cole Whitt Standard Plumbing Supply Chevrolet
26 32 00 Landon Cassill(i) StarCom Fiber Chevrolet
27 38 7 * DJ Kennington(i) APC/Northern Provincial Pipelines Chevrolet
28 39 51 Cody Ware JacobCo/BanyanCayGolfClub&Resort Chevrolet
29 11 21 Paul Menard Menards/Cardell Ford
30 5 88 Alex Bowman Axalta Chevrolet
31 36 97 * Tanner Berryhill Toyota
32 14 41 Kurt Busch (P) Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford
33 3 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford Ford
34 4 12 Ryan Blaney PPG Ford
35 16 14 Clint Bowyer (P) ITsavvy Ford
36 26 19 Daniel Suarez STANLEY Toyota
37 9 22 Joey Logano (P) Shell Pennzoil Ford
38 35 23 JJ Yeley(i) She Beverage Company Toyota
39 37 66 * Timmy Hill(i) Rewards.com Toyota

 

Follow on Twitter for updates: @BryanR_305

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