Chase Elliott takes Stage 2 of NASCAR Cup playoff race at Chicagoland

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JOLIET, Illinois – Chase Elliott captured Stage 2 of Sunday’s Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

It was Elliott’s third stage win of the season as he hopes to turn that into his first career NASCAR Cup win.

After 160 laps, Elliott leads Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray.

Harvick, who finished behind Kyle Busch at the end of Stage 1, took the lead away from Busch on Lap 88.

During the pit stop following Stage 1, No. 1 seed Martin Truex Jr. had to return to pit road to have his crew tighten two loose lug nuts before Stage 2 began.

Kyle Busch made an unexpected pit stop on Lap 98 for a loose wheel. To add insult to injury, he and his team were penalized for a pit crew member over the wall too early.

That led to a pass-through penalty that put Busch two laps down, being scored 30th on Lap 103.

Just before Busch came down pit road, NASCAR officials brought four tires of the No. 18 team to be examined, but officials said it was standard operating procedure.

There was no immediate word of any penalty or violation, but it was an indication of how NASCAR has been increasingly cracking down in recent weeks.

By Lap 116, Busch was back up to 26th position and had gained back one of the laps he lost, now just one lap down to the leaders.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who scraped the wall in Stage 1, was still unable to recover. By Lap 120, Stenhouse was the last of the 16 playoff drivers, scored in 28th position, still two laps down.

Elliott beat Harvick off pit road following service to both cars to take the lead on Lap 125.

Ten laps later, Truex battled his way back to fifth place.

By Lap 153, Truex had climbed back to third, Kyle Busch to 16th (one lap down) and Stenhouse had fallen to 31st (three laps down).