Kyle Busch rallies to pass Chase Elliott for Dover win; playoff field cut to 12


In one of the season’s most thrilling finishes, Kyle Busch passed Chase Elliott coming to the white flag to win Sunday’s Apache Warrior 400 at Dover International Speedway.

“This is the moment you live for, the moment we all live for,” Busch told NBCSN in victory lane.

Elliott appeared headed for his first career Cup win but got bottled up in traffic, allowing Busch to pass for the win. Elliott finished second — for the third time this season.

MORE: Ryan Newman confronts Jeff Gordon after race 

MORE: Results, stats for Dover playoff elimination race

MORE: Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne eliminated from playoffs

“I can’t say enough about Chase,” Busch said. “He’s an awesome competitor, great kid, great friend. This was a hard fought one. I know Chase is hungry, he’s been trying to get his first Cup Series win. But I saw that carrot hanging out there and I was going to get it, I gave it everything I had.”

MORE: Results, stats for Dover playoff elimination race

MORE: Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne eliminated from playoffs

But the plaudits from Busch were little consolation to Elliott.

“I gave it away,” Elliott said. “When you look back, obviously I may have done something different, but I didn’t.”

Busch has won two playoff races in a row, having captured last week’s race at New Hampshire. He adds another five playoff points to his total.

Post-race penalties: Two cars failed post-race inspection: the No. 14 of Clint Bowyer and the No. 77 of Erik Jones, both for having one unsecured lug nut on their respective cars. One unsecured lug nut results in a crew chief fine pf $10,000. Penalties will likely be assessed in the next couple of days.

Stage winners: Brad Keselowski (Stage 1), Kyle Larson (Stage 2).

Who else had a good race: Even though he once again fell short of winning his first career Cup race, Elliott has nothing to hang his head about, finishing second. …. While it wasn’t a great finish in the big scheme of things, 19th-place finisher Ricky Stenhouse Jr. did what he needed to do to advance in the playoffs.

Who had a bad race: Ryan Newman (13th), Kasey Kahne (14th), Austin Dillon (16th) and Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch (20th) failed to advance to the second round of the playoffs. … With 25 laps left in the race, Denny Hamlin suffered a broken axle. He finished 35th.

Notable: While so much attention was focused on which drivers would be eliminated, three non-playoff drivers had strong runs: Clint Bowyer (finished sixth), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (seventh) and Daniel Suarez (eighth).

Quote of the Day: “I’m so disappointed in myself. Golly, I couldn’t have had it easier, from the stage break to the end and I just gave it away. My team kept us in the ballgame and I didn’t.” – Runner-up Chase Elliott.

What’s next: Bank of America 500, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2 p.m. ET, Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Follow @JerryBonkowski


BRANDT returns for third year with JR Motorsports in Xfinity Series

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BRANDT Professional Agriculture will return as a sponsor for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, the team announced Wednesday.

The company will be a primary sponsor of Justin Allgaier‘s No. 7 Chevrolet in 19 races and an associate sponsor of Allgaier and his three teammates the rest of the season.

Brandt has sponsored Allgaier for eight years, including the last three with JR Motorsports.

Allgaier is a native of Riverton, Illinois, which is 15 miles from Springfield, Illinois, where the company is headquartered.

JR Motorsports

Allgaier, 31, is coming off his second season that ended with him in the Championship 4. He earned two wins, 10 top five and 17 top-10 finishes. He also led a series-high 495 laps among Xfinity regulars.

He will be teammates with Elliott Sadler, Tyler Reddick and Michael Annett this year.

The Xfinity season begins Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway.

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NASCAR revamps Rookie of the Year points system in national series

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NASCAR has changed how it determines the Rookie of the Year in all three national series, it announced Thursday.

The new system, which will debut in a month at Daytona International Speedway, reflects the points system that decides the champion in each series, including the stage format in races.

A race win will earn a rookie candidate 40 points and five playoff points. A second-place finish will is worth 35 points and a third-place finish is 34 points, etc.

A rookie candidate who wins a stage will earn 10 points and one playoff point.

“The focus on our rising stars has never been stronger and simplifying the Sunoco Rookie of the Year system made perfect sense,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR’s senior vice president of racing operations in a press release. “Our fans track closely the progress of our young drivers and matching the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points structure with the championship points will help them follow this prestigious program and award more closely than ever before.”

Erik Jones was Rookie of the Year in the Cup Series last year. William Byron won the honor in the Xfinity Series and Chase Briscoe won it in the Camping World Truck Series.

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Watkins Glen, Michigan announce multi-year sponsor deals

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Watkins Glen International and Michigan International Speedway announced multi-year sponsorship deals for their Cup Series races Thursday.

WGI announced the Aug. 5 race at the road course will be sponsored by The 90-lap race will be called “Go Bowling at the Glen.”

This is not the first time the bowling brand has sponsored a Cup event. It sponsored the spring race at Kansas Speedway from 2016-17 and the August event at Pocono Raceway from 2013-14.

As part of the deal, Go Bowling will have two bowling lanes at the track for the race weekend.

Michigan has renewed its sponsorship deal with FireKeepers Casino Hotel for its June Cup race for “many years.”

The hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan, began its relationship with MIS by sponsoring pole day in 2014. It began sponsoring the June race in 2016.

TheFireKeepers Casino 400 is scheduled for June 10.

ISM Raceway (Phoenix) also announced the title sponsor for its March 11 Cup race.

The event will called the TicketGuardian 500.

TicketGuardian is a mobile ticketing insurance provider. When fans purchase tickets to events at ISM Raceway, they will be given the option to add TicketGuardian’s ticket protection coverage. This allows fans to have insurance on the tickets they’ve purchased in advance.

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Hendrick, Kelley Blue Book extend relationship through 2020

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Hendrick Motorsports and Kelley Blue Book have extended their sponsorship deal three years through 2020, the team announced Thursday.

The car pricing, research and valuation guide will be a primary sponsor on Chase Elliott‘s N0. 9 Chevrolet in two races each year.

This season it will be on the No. 9 for the Aug. 18 race at Bristol Motor Speedway and the November playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Kelley Blue Book has been partnered with Hendrick since 2014 when it had a one-race deal to sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It went to a two-race deal beginning in 2016.

MORE: Driving the No. 9 feels like going home for Chase Elliott

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