Written by Adrian Beecher
Charlotte, NC- In his 12th career All-Star race, Kyle Busch captured his 1st ever NASCAR All-Star race victory jumping out to a lead on the final restart and winning the final ten lap shootout capturing the One Million Dollar Prize!
Kyle Larson in the #42 Target Toyota started on the pole with Kyle Busch in the #18 M&M’s Toyota on the outside. Larson jumped out to the early lead and had a 0.484-second lead after two laps.
Larson was able to maintain the lead, and with just four laps left in the 1st stage, Larson had extended his lead to 2 seconds out in front of Busch. As stage 1 came to an end, it was Larson maintaining his lead and winning the stage. This punched his ticket into the final round.
Larson won the battle off of pit road, while Matt Kenseth in the #20 DeWalt Benefiting Wounded Warrior Project Toyota had to end his night early as he sprung an oil leak. This left just 19 cars in the field for the 2nd stage.
With Larson out in front and Kevin Harvick in the #4 Busch Bucks Ford on the outside, stage two got under way. It took Jimmie Johnson in the #48 Lowes Chevy just 3 laps to find his way into 2nd place taking the option tires as he started to chase down Larson. However, the closest Johnson would get was .825 seconds behind Larson.
Winning the race off of pit road was Clint Bowyer in the #14 Haas Automation Ford as he took just two tires on the stop. Starting on the outside of him was Ryan Blaney in the #21 Motorcraft Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford as he selected for a two-tire stop as well.
Blaney quickly passed by Bowyer, who started to fall quickly toward the back. Then it was Jimmie Johnson making the pass for the lead with just 17 laps to go in the stage. Johnson would hold on for the remainder of the stage and capture the stage 3 victory.
As the field was cut down to ten, final pit stops were taken. However, Brad Keselowski in the #2 Miller Lite Ford stayed out because he was out of tires. This allowed Keselowski to start the final 10 laps shootout in the front, with Jimmie Johnson on the outside. On the restart, Brad got loose with his older tires and dropped to the back quickly as Kyle Busch moved to the front as he made a move to the inside.
After the race, Kyle Busch spoke about the final pass he made to get out in front on the restart, “It was pretty cool once I got that opportunity to get there. I knew it was going to be now or never and take advantage of the opportunity once it presented itself.”
After taking the led it was a mad dash to the finish for Busch. Larson and Johnson battled for 2nd behind Busch, building the lead for Kyle. In the end, it was Kyle Busch taking his first Cup Series victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the One Million Dollar Prize.
Written by Adrian Beecher
Charlotte, NC - In the Monster Energy Open, 3 drivers punched their ticket to the All-Star race with wins in a stage. It was Clint Bowyer, Daniel Suarez, and Ryan Blaney. Here’s how it all went down!
Clint Bowyer in the Haas Automation Ford started on the pole and cruised easily to a stage 1 victory in the Monster Energy Open. That clinched his spot in Saturday nights All-Star Race, his 8th ever appearance in the All-Star Race. During the first stage, Corey LaJoie in the #83 Hope for Warriors Toyota went behind the wall, ending his chances for a spot in the All-Star Race.
As stage two got underway, it was Ryan Blaney in the #21 Motorcraft Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford started our in front. He would hold off Chase Elliot in the #24 Mountain Dew Chevrolet by 2two10ths of a second as Blaney punched his ticket into the All-Star Race.
Landon Cassill in the #34 MDS #Checkit4Andretti Ford took just two tires on his stop and started out in front as the final stage. Less than a hundred yards into the start of the lap Chase Elliot spun Cassill and out came the first caution. Since it wasn’t a full lap, the lap did not count.
On the restart it was Daniel Suarez in the #19 ARRIS Toyota out in front. In the 10-lap shootout, Suarez tried to fend off Erik Jones in the #77 SiriusXM Toyota and Chase Elliot in the #24. With just 4 laps to go, coming out of turn 4, Jones tried to go to the inside of Elliott and Suarez, but ended up clipping the grass out of the dog-leg. He tries to save the car all the way into turn 1 and two, however Jones ended up spinning out in the exit of turn two. This brought out our 1st true caution of the Monster Energy Open.
On the restart it was Suarez was able to put some distance between him and the rest of the field and sealed the deal with a victory in stage three, punching his ticket to Saturdays All-Star race. Despite not winning a stage, Chase Elliot punched his ticket by winning the fan vote.
Written by Adrian Beecher
Charlotte, NC - Kyle Larson in the #42 Target Chevy won the pole for the 2017 NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a lap speed of 143.839 mph. It marks Larson’s first ever All-Start race Pole. Starting beside Larson will be Kyle Busch in the #18 M&M’s Toyota with a lap time of 143.826 mph.
Before Larson won the pole, the fastest qualifying time came from Kurt Busch in the final round of qualifying, however two loose lug nuts served as a penalty that pushed Busch back to the 5th starting place. In third will be Kevin Harvick, with Jimmie Johnson set to start in 4th.
During the first round of qualifying the most style points (not a real stat) went to Ryan Newman in the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet. As he made his way around turn 3 on his 2nd lap of qualifying his car got very loose and he started to drift around the turn into turn 4 and was able to save the car and make it down pit road. Despite saving the car, Newman will still start back in the 15th position Saturday evening.
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