Denies Chase Elliott His First Career Win
“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.”