Kyle Busch Passes Elliott Coming to White Flag to Win at Dover

by Tucker White On Sun, Oct. 01, 2017

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Caramel Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Apache Warrior 400 presented by Lucas Oil at Dover International Speedway on October 1, 2017 in Dover, Delaware. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Kyle Busch ran down and passed Chase Elliott with two laps remaining to win the Apache Warrior 400 at Dover International Speedway.

Elliott took over the race lead after Larson’s car shutoff under the second stage break and, as a result, was sent back in the running order for not maintaining pace with the caution car. After the final round of green flag stops finished up, Elliott cycled back to the lead and was on his way to his first career victory. But thanks to pitting five laps later than Elliott, Busch cut the lead to under a second with less than 15 laps to go. Lap traffic made the difference, in the end, as Busch pulled alongside and passed Elliott, exiting Turn 4, coming to the white flag and drove on to victory.

“That was hard fought. That was everything I had, obviously,” Busch said. “I was trying to get there. Got stuck there for a few laps. Wasn’t sure I was going to make it all the way. And then, I was like ‘You know what? I gotta try the top again.’ The top had been working. It kind of got me there. I got up there. Got to the top and got rim-riding. Got the momentum on the straightaways and that carried me by the 24 (Elliott). Man, just an awesome, awesome M&M’s Caramel Camry! Wasn’t that great at the beginning of the day. We definitely made a lot of gains on this car. Made a lot of gains throughout the runs. Got it a lot better and put on a heck of a show for the fans. So one’s right here in Dover.”

Elliott finished second and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the podium.

“I’m just so disappointed with myself,” Elliott said. “Couldn’t have had it any easier. Ran green from the stage break, all the way to the end and gave it away. I appreciate my team and their efforts today. Our pit stops were great and they kept us in the ball game today, and I didn’t.”

“Yeah, we had a very competitive car today,” Johnson said.

“The car was good we just kind of fought track position and I wish I had done a better job on Friday and got us up in that front three sooner. It was so tough to pass, I think whoever came off pit road or had control of a restart was really in the catbird seat. But, a great day for our Lowe’s Chevy. These banked tracks seem to suit us much better than a lot of the flat we saw during the summer. Usually, if you run well at Dover, you run well at Charlotte, so we are excited to go to next week as well.”

Martin Truex Jr. and Larson rounded out the top-five.

“It was a really good race,” Larson said. “I won that second stage and was the leader off pit road and then my engine was kind of struggling firing up when I would cycle the engine and cool it down under yellows. It just didn’t re-fire that one time and had to restart fifth and feel back to sixth. Kind of hard to pass when I got back there I couldn’t really move up the race track because I would be in dirty air. We short pitted, got to third, but fell back and finished fifth. I felt like if I could have restarted the leader I probably would have had a shot to win like the No. 24, but once I had restart on the inside of the third row I was kind of done unless I had a caution, which there wasn’t any left the rest of the race.”

Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Daniel Suarez, Jamie McMurray and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-10.

RACE SUMMARY

Martin Truex Jr. led the field to the green flag at 2:17 p.m. After leading the first 25 laps, Larson pinned him behind a lapped car exiting Turn 4, which allowed Larson to drive under him to take the lead on Lap 26. Truex worked his way back around Larson, passing under him in Turn 1, to retake the lead on Lap 62. He surrendered the lead to pit under green, as did a number of other cars around Lap 82, just before caution flew for the first time on Lap 87 (Jeffrey Earnhardt rear-ended the sand barriers along the leading edge of the outside pit wall).

Kyle Busch was the race leader when the caution flew, but lost it to Brad Keselowski on pit road, who drove on to win the first stage.

Retaking the lead on pit road, Busch led the field back to green on Lap 128. Larson powered around the outside of Busch entering Turn 3 to retake the lead on 141. Reed Sorenson brought out the third caution on Lap 168 when he blew an engine in Turn 3.

Truex exited the pits with the lead, but Larson used an excellent restart to take back the lead entering Turn 1 on the Lap 174 restart and drove on to win the second stage. This setup the run to the finish.

TIDBITS

Kevin Harvick pitted from fifth on Lap 219 for a loose wheel, and Denny Hamlin pitted with 27 to go after hitting the backstretch wall and breaking a rear-axle.

NUTS & BOLTS

The race lasted three hours, five minutes and 48 seconds, at an average speed of 129.171 mph. There were 15 lead changes among six different drivers and four cautions for 24 laps (including one red flag for 15 minutes and nine seconds).

Truex leaves with an 18-point lead over Kyle Busch, following the conclusion of the Round of 16. Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch fail to advance.

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