Tha Sports Junkies 101

Busch Wins Stunning Elimination Race at Dover



Dover did not disappoint as the first elimination race for the NASCAR Playoffs. 4 driver’s championship hopes were dashed, there were a late-race lead change and an early red flag. In the end, Kyle Busch stood tall in victory lane for his second-straight series win.

Early Race Highlights

The front row was the Toyotas of Martin Truex Jr and Kyle Busch. Truex led the first 25 laps from the pole, looking for his 20th Stage win. Kyle Larson took the top spot on lap 26. On lap 88, Jeffrey Earnhardt spun while trying to come to pit road. He hit the sand barrels at the end of the pit wall. A 10-minute red flag came out for cleanup. This untimely red flag split up the pit strategy for several drivers. Playoff bubble driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr was able to capitalize and get 7 stage points. Stage 1 ended up going to Brad Keselowski.

Stage 2 only had 1 caution for Derrike Cope’s engine blowing up. This stage victory went to Kyle Larson. Fast-forwarding to the final stage, Chase Elliott took over the lead on lap 340. He maintained his position through a green-flag pit sequence. At one point he led by over 4 seconds. With 2 laps remaining, a hard-charging Kyle Busch made his way by Elliott and held on for the win. This is Busch’s first career win in a Playoff elimination race.

Drivers Eliminated from Playoff Contention

Miles the Monster proved troublesome for several Playoff drivers. In the end, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, and Austin Dillon were on the negative side of the elimination race. These drivers represented 4 wins this season. These wins included the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, and Coca-Cola 600.

Round of 12 Standings

Next week at Charlotte marks the start of round 2 of the Playoffs. Only 12 championship contenders remain. Their seeding after Dover is below. The Playoff rankings are slightly different for this season. Any bonus points accumulated throughout the entire season do transfer on through multiple rounds. The drivers keep their bonus points up until the championship race at Homestead.

Martin Truex Jr3,059 points
Kyle Busch3,041 points
Kyle Larson3,034 points
Brad Keselowski3,020 points
Jimmie Johnson3,017 points
Kevin Harvick3,015 points
Denny Hamlin3,013 points
Ricky Stenhouse Jr3,010 points
Ryan Blaney3,008 points
Chase Elliott3,006 points
Matt Kenseth3,005 points
Jamie McMurray3,003 points

The top 10 finishers in the Apache Warrior 400 at Dover were as follows. Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Larson, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Daniel Suarez, Jamie McMurray, and Brad Keselowski.

In closing, elimination race number 1 was filled with drama, unpredictability, and disappointment. The 2017 NASCAR Playoffs are now reset, as the series will head to Charlotte next week. TSJNASCAR will have exclusive coverage from the Bank of America 500, so stay tuned.