Wild Finish at Monster Mile in Monster Cup

It’s an elimination weekend for the Monster Energy Cup Series when the teams travel to the home of Miles the Monster for the Apache Warrior 400 at Dover International Speedway.

DoverSpeedwayMiles1By Sector001 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21545910

By the end of the race the four drivers in the playoffs with the lowest points will be eliminated and not advance to the round of 12; only Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr are guaranteed to advance after winning one of the first two races.

After three rounds of qualifying, Martin Truex Jr snatched the pole away from Kyle Busch with a lap of 22.407 seconds. Kyle Busch will start the race on the front row along side Truex.

Martin_Truex_Jr._at_the_Daytona_500(2)By Nascarking – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38678777

The starting lineup for the Apache Warrior 400:
Martin Truex Jr – in the playoffs
Kyle Busch – in the playoffs
Kyle Larson – in the playoffs
Matt Kenseth – in the playoffs
Daniel Suarez
Denny Hamlin – in the playoffs
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Ryan Newman – in the playoffs
Kevin Harvick – in the playoffs
Erik Jones
Ryan Blaney – in the playoffs
Chase Elliott – in the playoffs
Kurt Busch – in the playoffs
Aric Almirola
Ricky Stenhouse JR – in the playoffs
Brad Keselowski – in the playoffs
Jimmie Johson – in the playoffs
Joey Logano
lint Bowyer
Trevor Bayne
Kasey Kahne – in the playoffs
Chris Buescher
Austin Dillon – in the playoffs
Danica Patrick
Paul Menard
Jamie McMurray – in the playoffs
AJ Allmendinger
David Ragan
Ty Dillon
Michael McDowell
Landon Cassill
Ross Chastain
Cole Whitt
Brett Moffitt
Timmy Hill
BJ Mcleod
Corey LaJoie
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Reed Sorenson
Matt DiBenedetto

Stage one and two of the race are 120 laps each with stage three lasting 160 laps for a total of 400 laps around the one mile track.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag start of the race and jumps out in front of Kyle Busch to take the lead. Matt Kenseth takes second from Kyle Busch.

Lap four Martin Truex Jr has pulled out to a lead of over half a second o Matt Kenseth with Kyle Busch in third over a second behind the leader.

Lap nine Martin Truex Jr’s lead is now over a second on Mat Kenseth with Kyle Busch in third.

Lap 13 Kyle Larson passes Kyle Busch to take third place. Martin Truex Jr is out in front of the field.

Lap 15 Martin Truex Jr has pulled out to a lead of two seconds on Matt Kenseth. Kyle Larson is in third place.

Lap 19 Martin Truex Jr holds on to the lead of the race but his lead is down to just over a second on Matt Kenseth.

Doing some rim riding, Kyle Larson passes Martin Truex Jr for the lead on lap 25.

Lap 31 Kyle Larson has a lead of over half a second on Martin Truex Jr with Dale Earnhardt Jr in third. Kyle Busch has fallen back to ninth place.

Lap 37 Kyle Larson has pulled out to a lead of over a second on Martin Truex Jr. Dale Earnhardt Jr is in third.

At this point in the race Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Kurt Busch, and Kasey Kahne would be eliminated from the playoffs in this first elimination race.

Kyle Larson continues to lead the race on lap 52 with a lead of over half a second on Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 57 there are 26 cars on the lead lap with only Timmy Hill off the track.

Lap 59 Kyle Larson holds on to the lead with less then a half second lead on Martin Truex Jr. Dale Earnhardt Jr is in third over two seconds behind.

Lap 61 Martin Truex Jr passes Kyle Larson on the bottom to retake the lead of the race.

Lap 65 Martin Truex Jr leads Kyle Larson by half a second, Kevin Harvick is now in third.

Lap 73 Martin Truex Jr is still out in front but it is now Kevin Harvick in second over half a second behind.

The drivers cannot complete the stage on a fuel load and will have to make a pit stop before the stage is over.

Lap 77 it’s Martin Truex Jr, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson in the top three.

The mic on Martin Truex Jr’s radio is not working properly.

Lap 82 Kasey Kahne begins the cycle of green flag pit stops. Several drivers follow immediately behind him.

Lap 84 leader Martin Truex Jr makes his pit stop giving the lead over to Kyle Busch, followed by Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott.

The first caution flag of the race comes out on lap 87 when Jeffrey Earnhardt runs into the barrels at the entrance to pit road trying to get on pit road. The caution is a huge break for the drivers who have not pitted yet. NASCAR has red flagged the race in order to fix the barrels and get them set back up.

After the caution, there are only five cars on the lead lap – Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Danica Patrick, and David Ragan.

After a 15 minute red flag, NASCAR pulls the red flag and displays the yellow flag. Once pit road opens, the remainder of the teams will make their pit stops. Several drivers who are a lap down are expected to take the wave around to return to the lead lap.

Brad Keselowski wins the race off of pit road.

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 93. The drivers are getting three wide across the track. Brad Keselowski pulls out to a lead of nearly half a second on Kyle Busch.

After a lucky break with the caution flag Ricky Stenhouse Jr is above the cut line but Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch are below and face possible elimination.

Lap 97 Brad Keselowski has a half second lead on Kyle Busch with Ricky Stenhouse Jr in third.

Lap 100 Brad Keselowski has a lead of over half a second on Kyle Busch with Martin Truex Jr now in third.

Lap 104 Brad Keselowski holds on to a half second lead on Kyle Busch with 19 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 110 Brad Keselowski is out in front with nearly a one secod lead on Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr in third two seconds behind.

With six laps remaining in the stage only Timmy Hill is off the track with Brad Keselowski leading by over half a second on Kyle Busch. There are 19 cars on the lead lap.

Three laps remaining in stage one and Brad Keselowski is out in front of the field a half second ahead of Kyle Busch.

Brad Keselowski wins stage one.

Brad_Keselowski_NAVY(1)

080301-N-5487R-0010 LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 1, 2008) – No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Monte Carlo driver Brad Keselowski talks to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class Adam Coleman prior to the start of the Sam’s Club 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Coleman, one of the Navy’s Fleet Honorees selected for the race, recently returned from deployment in the Middle East where he was awarded the Purple Heart. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Andrea Ross (released).

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Brad Keselowski
Kyle Busch
Martin Truex Jr
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Danica Patrick
Kyle Larson
Chase Elliott
Kevin Harvick
David Ragan
Denny Hamlin

Kyle Busch wins the race off of pit road, Ricky Stenhouse Jr lost six spots and came out in tenth.

Matt Kenseth was caught speeding on pit road.

Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 128 and pulls out in front of Martin Truex Jr for the lead with Kyle Larson taking second.

The top four – Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr, and Brad Keselowski. All four drivers will be advancing on to the next round.

Lap 134 Kyle Busch has a half second lead on Kyle Larson.

Lap 140 Kyle Busch has less than a half a second lead on Kyle Larson.

On lap 141 Kyle Larson passes Kyle Busch to take over the lead of the race.

Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne, and Kurst Busch are the drivers in danger of being eliminated at the end of the race.

Lap 151 Kyle Larson has pulled out to a lead of over as second on Martin Truex Jr with Kyle Busch in third nearly two seconds behind.

Lap 157 Kyle Larson has pulled out to a lead of nearly three seconds on Martin Truex Jr with Kevin Harvick in third nearly four seconds back of the leader.

Lap 160 there are 22 cars on the lead lap. Ross Chastain and Timmy Hill are the only drivers off the track.

Lap 162 Kyle Larson is pulling away with a lead of nearly four seconds on Martin Truex Jr. Kevin Harvick is nearly five seconds behind.

Reed Sorenson brings out the caution flag on lap 168 when his car is smoking on pit road. He takes his car to the garage.

Drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.

Martin Truex Jr wins the race off of pit road; followed by Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Denny Halin, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, and Clint Bowyer.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 174 but Kyle Larson gets around Truex to take over the lead of the race.

Lap 179 Kyle Larson has a lead of over half a second on Martin Truex Jr with Chase Elliott in third over a second behind.

Martin Truex Jr reports some smoking in the car but the team is not concerned.

Lap 184 Kyle Larson’s lead is now a second and a half on Martin Truex Jr with Chase Elliot two seconds behind the leader.

Lap 189 Kyle Larson has a near two second lead on Martin Truex Jr with Chase Elliott two and a half seconds behind.

Halfway – lap 200 – Kyle Larson continues to lead the race by over two and a half seconds on Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 207 Kyle Larson has a lead of over a second and a half on Martin Truex Jr.

Lap211 Kyle Busch has a lead of over two seconds on Martin Truex Jr, Chase Elliott is in third nearly three seconds behind.

Lap 215 Kyle Larson continues to hold a lead of over two seconds on Martin Truex Jr with Chase Elliott in third.

Lap 219 Kevin Harvick comes down pit road for service.

Lap 226 Kyle Larson is still out in front of the field; followed by Martin Truex Jr, Chase Elliott, and Kyle Busch.

After making an unscheduled pit stop, Kevin Harvick was two laps down but with fresh tires, he has passed Kyle Larson to get one of his laps back.

Lap 230 Kyle Larson’s lead is down to less than a second on Martin Truex Jr.

Kurt Busch is reporting a vibration but is staying out on the track hoping to make it to the end of the stage in 10 laps.

Kyle Larson wins stage two.

Kyle_Larson_Road_America_2013By I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license: – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26863789

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Kyle Larson
Martin Truex Jr
Chase Elliott
Kyle Busch
Jimmie Johnson
Denny Hamlin
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Brad Keselowski
Jamie McMurray
Clint Bowyer

Kyle Larson wins the race off of pit road; followed by Chase Elliott, Martin Treux Jr, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, Jamie McMurray, and Erik Jones.

Chase Elliott brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 249 and holds on to the lead. Kyle Larson had issues with his engine and had to cycle through it; as a result he lost the lead prior to the restart and is back in sixth place.

Lap 252 Chase Elliott has a lead of over half a second on Martin Truex Jr with Jimmie Johnson in third less than a second behind.

At the moment the battle for the final spot in the round of 12 is between Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Ryan Newman. Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch, and Kasey Kahne all risk being eliminated from the playoffs.

Lap 259 Chase Elliott has a lead of over half a second on Martin Truex Jr. Reed Sorenson and Timmy Hill are out of the race and the only cars not on the track.

Lap 263 Chase Eliott pulls out to a lead of over a second on Martin Truex Jr with Jimmie Johnson in third a second and a half behind.

Lap 276 Chase Elliott hold on to the lead of the race with 21 cars on the lead lap.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr is reporting handling issues with his car.

Lap 281 Chase has a lead of over a second on Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 285 Chase Elliott has a near second and a half lead on Martin Truex Jr with Jimmie Johnson right behind in third.

Lap 291 Chase Elliott continues to lead the race with a lead of over a second and a half on Martin Truex Jr, Jimmie Johnson is in third over two seconds behind.

Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch, and Kasey Kahne are still the four drivers at the bottom of the round of 16 and face being eliminated from the playoffs at the end of the race.

Less than 100 laps to go and Chase Elliott continues to lead the race and looking to cross the finish line ahead of the field for his first Monster Energy Cup win.

Kyle Busch has gotten around Jimmie Johnson to take over third place.

Lap 312 Chase Elliott has a lead of over three seconds on Martin Truex Jr with Kyle Busch in third over four seconds behind. There are 20 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 317 Ricky Stenhouse Jr is the last car on the lead lap in 18th place.

Citing handling issues, Kasey Kahne is the first car on pit road for a green flag pit stop.

Leader Chase Elliott is on pit road giving the lead over to Kyle Busch.

Lap 330 leader Kyle Busch brings his M&Ms car down pit road for fresh tires and fuel. Jimmie Johnson is now the leader of the race.

Kurt Busch was charged with a commitment road violation.

Lap 335 leader Jimmie Johnson makes his green flag pit stop. Brad Keselowski is the new leader.

Lap 340 leader Brad Keselowski makes his green flag pit stop. Chase Elliott retakes the lead after green flag pit stops have cycled through.

Lap 301 the top three are Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr and Kyle Larson.

Lap 350 Chase Elliott is still in the lead; followed by Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, and Jimmie Johnson.

Lat 355 Chase Elliott has a four second lead on Kyle Patrick with Martin Truex Jr over five seconds behind.

With 40 laps remaining in the race Chase Elliott continues to lead by over four seconds on Kyle Busch.

Thirty five to go and Chase Elliot continues to lead but it is now less than four seconds ahead of Kyle Busch.

Just 27 laps to go and Chase Elliott is still in the lead.

Denny Hamlin slows down on the track and makes his way down pit road with a tire or axle issue.

With 24 laps to go Kyle Busch has closed to only two seconds behind Chase Elliott with Jimmie Johnson in third.

Twenty to go and Kyle Busch has pulled up to only a second and a half behind Chase Elliott.

With 15 laps remaining in the race there are only 13 cars on the lead lap. Kyle Busch has pulled up to just over a second behind Chase Elliott.

Twelve to go and Kyle Busch is less than a second behind Chase Elliott.

Ten to go and Kyle Busch is only a half second behind Chase Elliott.

Nine to go and Kyle Busch has pulled to within half a second on leader Chase Elliott. There are 13 cars on the lead lap.

Five to go and Chase Elliott holds on to the lead but Kyle Busch is less than a second behind and coming on hard.

Three to go and Kyle Busch is on leader Chase Elliott’s bumper.

With only two laps to go Kyle Busch has caught Chase Elliott and passes him to take the lead.

Kyle Busch takes the white flag.

Kyle Busch tames Miles the Monster and wins the Apache Warrior 400. This is Busch’s fourth win of the 2017 racing season in Monster Energy Cup.

718px-TSM_-_Kyle_Busch_-_2015_-_Stierch_-_08By Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41336076

The unofficial results of the Apache Warrior 400:
Kyle Busch
Chase Elliott
Jimmie Johnson
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Larson
Clint Bowyer
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Daniel Suarez
Jamie McMurray
Brad Keselowski
Matt Kenseth
Erik Jones
Ryan Newman
Kasey Kahne
Joey Logano
Austin Dillon
Kevin Harvick
Danica Patrick
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Kurt Busch
David Ragan
Ty Dillon
Ryan Blaney
Trevor Bayne
Aric Amirola
Paul Menard
Michael McDowell
AJ Allmendinger
Landon Cassill
Chris Buescher
Matt DiBenedetto
Cole Whitt
Brett Moffitt
Corey LaJoie
Deny Hamlin
BJ McLeod
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Ross Chastain
Reed Sorenson
Timmy Hill

The twelve drivers moving on to the next round of the playoffs are:
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Busch
Kyle Larson
Brad Keselowski
Jimmie Johnson
Kevin Harvick
Denny Hamlin
Ricky Tenhouse Jr
Ryan Blaney
Chase Elliott
Matt Kenseth
Jamie McMurray

Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, and Austin Dillon have been eliminated.


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