Kyle Busch wins crazy NASCAR Martinsville Cup race

Kyle Busch secured his place in the final championship four by winning a chaotic NASCAR Cup race at Martinsville

Kyle Busch wins crazy NASCAR Martinsville Cup race

In the first NASCAR race to finish under lights at the track, Busch finished second in both opening stages as Brad Keselowski emerged in front, looking to sweep both Martinsville races this season.

Busch's win came in overtime after late race leader Chase Elliott was spun by Denny Hamlin at Turn 4 with just three laps to go.

Elliott took the lead for the first time on lap 386 of the 500-lap race, and dominated the final stage, with his car looking to be the class of the field in the final segment after running in the top 10 for much of the race to that point.

After dropping back in traffic, Elliott regained the lead with 30 to go, and battled hard with Keselowski to keep in front. Ultimately, Elliott and Keselowski's battle ended when the Penske driver was forced wide with four laps to go.

That left the door open for Hamlin, who was battling back from a pitlane speeding penalty, to move up to second.

As the field entered Turn 4 on lap 498, Hamlin made contact with Elliott, spinning the Hendrick driver and forcing the race to go to overtime.

Only one overtime period was needed, and although Joe Gibbs Racing team-mates Hamlin and Busch made contact several times during the final two laps, Busch was able to hold on to take the overall victory.

The contact between the Toyota pair came off worse for Hamlin who spun, starting a chain reaction that caused a pile-up as the field crossed the line to take the chequered flag.

Martin Truex Jr squeezed his way through to take second place, and Clint Bowyer, another driver who didn't lead a lap finished third after emerging as an unlikely challenger for victory in the closing stages.

Keselowski made the most of the final lap action to recover to fourth, one spot ahead of fellow playoff contender Kevin Harvick.

Trevor Bayne was classified sixth, with Hamlin seventh despite his finish line fumble. Playoff contender Ryan Blaney was eighth, while the already eliminated Matt Kenseth, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr completed the top 10.

Despite starting at the rear of the field due to a spin in qualifying, Jimmie Johnson finished in 12th. The nine-time Martinsville winner led 24 laps and gambled by pitting during a late caution period while the leading cars all remained on track, a risk that was unable to put him back in race-winning contention.

The late caution was a result of a spin for polesitter Joey Logano, who lost a tyre with just nine laps to go while battling in the top three. He was classified 24th.

After his collision with Hamlin, Elliott was marked down in 27th place. Following the chequered flag the pair had a coming together on track, followed by a heated exchange. Hamlin later admitted fault for the incident.

The complexion of the playoff picture changed dramatically over the course of the race.

Truex remains first in the points standings, but second-placed Busch is so far the only driver guaranteed to be in the final four by virtue of his win.

Keselowski and Harvick currently lock up the other two transfer spots, with Johnson just three points behind Harvick in fifth. Ryan Blaney currently occupies sixth, a further three points back from Johnson, while Hamlin is in seventh.

Elliott now lies eighth in the points with only two more races to get himself into the top four for the championship-deciding race at Homestead.

Result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 505 3h32m47.s
2 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota 505 0.141s
3 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 505 0.379s
4 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 505 0.991s
5 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 505 1.540s
6 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 505 1.700s
7 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 505 1.905s
8 Ryan Blaney Wood Brothers Racing Ford 505 1.911s
9 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 505 1.920s
10 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 505 1.981s
11 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 505 2.228s
12 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 505 2.229s
13 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 505 2.445s
14 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 505 2.548s
15 Daniel Suarez Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 505 2.598s
16 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 505 2.817s
17 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 505 2.987s
18 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 505 3.064s
19 Michael McDowell Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 505 3.265s
20 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 505 3.293s
21 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 505 3.565s
22 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 505 5.479s
23 Landon Cassill Front Row Motorsports Ford 505 5.512s
24 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 504 1 Lap
25 Cole Whitt TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet 504 1 Lap
26 Erik Jones Furniture Row Racing Toyota 504 1 Lap
27 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 504 1 Lap
28 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 503 2 Laps
29 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 503 2 Laps
30 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 501 4 Laps
31 Gray Gaulding BK Racing Toyota 501 4 Laps
32 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 500 5 Laps
33 Corey LaJoie BK Racing Toyota 500 5 Laps
34 Hermie Sadler Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 494 11 Laps
35 Kyle Weatherman Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 488 17 Laps
36 Carl Long MBM Motorsports Chevrolet 444 Accident
37 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 300 Accident
38 Jeffrey Earnhardt Circle Sport / TMG Chevrolet 274 Rear Gear
39 Matt DiBenedetto Go FAS Racing Ford 187 Electrical
40 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 94 Accident

Playoff standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Martin Truex Jr. 4117
2 Kyle Busch 4100
3 Brad Keselowski 4079
4 Kevin Harvick 4053
5 Jimmie Johnson 4050
6 Ryan Blaney 4047
7 Denny Hamlin 4045
8 Chase Elliott 4027

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