The first race of the playoffs for the Monster Energy Series drivers took place at the Chicagoland track on Sunday afternoon.
The race started off with Kyle Busch leading lap after lap after lap. Then around lap 30 it was the start of green flag pit stops. And plenty of problems on pit road this time. Autin Dillion, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones, Matt Dibenedetto, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. all picked up a penalty on pit road. When the pit stops were all over Kyle Busch was back to leading laps as Martin Truex Jr. was back on the lead lap and slowly moving his way up through the field. As the long green flag continued Kyle Busch kept on putting more and more cars one lap down and by the end of the first stage that Kyle easily won less than 15 cars were on the lead lap. Cars pit under caution and Kyle Busch won the race off pit road.
The second stage had Kevin Harvick getting the race lead. Then Kyle Busch complained about a bad tire and came down pit road around lap 96 to replace it. He wound up picking up a penalty on pit road for a man over the wall too soon compounding his problems. Around lap 122 it was green flag pit stop time as Chase Elliott took the race lead for the first time today. As the long green flag run continued Chase Elliott continued to lead laps as Martin Truex Je. slowly moved his way closer to the front. Chase Elliott was able to win the second stage. Cars pit and Chase was able to keep the race lead.
The final stage started off with Kevin Harvick getting the race lead as Jamie McMurray spins out in the back to bring out the caution. As the green flag racing continued Martin Truex Jr. slowly moved he way past a few cars and at lap 189 was back to the race lead. At lap 201 Kurt Busch makes a green flag pit stop and he picked up a speeding penalty on pit road. Nine more laps go by and Erik Jones spins out to bring out the caution. Cars pit and Martin Truex Jr. keeps the race lead. We get a new long green flag run and Martin was leading lap after lap and built an over 7 second lead as the laps went down and took the win of the race.
“Best team in the world,” said Martin Truex Jr. “Anytime you go to victory lane it is special.”
“NAPA Chevy was solid,” said Chase Elliott. “Thought restarts were good.”