The Apache Warrior 400 at Dover International Speedway was the final race in the Round of 16 NASCAR Playoffs. With Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne, and Kurt Busch close to being eliminated, there was aggressive racing around every corner.
The race began with Martin Truex Jr and Kyle Busch on the front row. During a green flag pits stop in Stage 1, Jeffrey Earnhardt locked up his tires coming to pit road. He spun around and backed into the sand barrels at the entrance. The sand spilled over the track and the race was red flagged for 15 minutes as crews worked to clean up the mess. When the race restarted, Brad Keselowski found himself in the lead and drove away to the stage victory.
Stage 2 saw a back and forth battle between Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. Despite the caution on Lap 168 for the #55 of Reed Sorenson, whose engine expired and put down oil on the track, Larson maintained the lead and won Stage 2. During the break between Stage 2 and 3, Larson encountered some problems when his engine wouldn’t re-fire. This caused him to lose several positions on the race track whereupon he surrendered the lead to the #24 of Chase Elliott.
Stage 3 was caution free and looked to be smooth sailing for Chase Elliott. He drove away from the field when the race restarted, his crew delivered an excellent pit stop that put him back in the lead, and it looked as though he was going to win his first NASCAR Cup Series race…. until Kyle Busch charged from mid-field and within 30 laps, had closed Elliott’s 4.5-second lead.
On the final lap, Ryan Newman, who was fighting to stay in the playoffs, refused to move over despite Elliott being 3mph faster. With Newman and another lapped car in Elliott’s way, Kyle Busch sailed by on the top of the track and stole the win. This was Busch’s 4th win of the season and his 2nd in this round of the playoffs.
Eliminated from the Round of 16 were Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch, and Kasey Kahne.
The Round of 12 kicks off at Charlotte Motor Speedway next weekend for the Bank of America 500. get your tickets HERE