Kyle Busch spoils Chase Elliott's run at Dover for 2nd straight win

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Jimmie Johnson, his champion teammate, walked over to offer some encouragement and let Elliott vent. So I feel positive about that.

Elliott had it, the first win in 70 career Cup starts in his sight, the white flag about to drop.

Busch overtook Elliott with just over one lap left, and that led to a testy post-race exchange between Newman and Jeff Gordon, who preceded Elliott in the No. 24 Chevrolet and still has a piece of the action at Hendrick Motorsports.

As has historically been the case, there were some surprises as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series reached its first playoff cutoff race, at Dover International Speedway on Sunday. Elliott, however, eventually lost the lead and finished second.

"I'm just so disappointed in myself". "Golly. I couldn't have had it any easier". Busch then went to the high side with less than 10 laps to go to continue eating away at the lead. Newman's efforts slowed Elliott, who was trying to hold off a charging Kyle Busch, who was running second and had trimmed Elliott's lead from two seconds to just a few auto lengths.

Kyle Busch: This was his second consecutive win in the playoffs, and he's clearly among the favorites to make it to Homestead. Fast-forwarding to the final stage, Chase Elliott took over the lead on lap 340.

SMOKING SORENSON: The third caution of the race flew on lap 168 because of smoke pouring from Reed Sorenson's auto, which dropped fluid on the track. Coming out of pit road after the subsequent caution, Brad Keselowski just edged Kyle Busch.

"For as far as Chase got out there, I wasn't sure I'd be able to run him back down, but fortunately I did and gave it everything I had there for those last 60 laps", said Busch. "The vehicle was good. we just kind of fought track position and I wish I had done a better job on Friday (in qualifying) and got us up in front there sooner". Completing the top 10 were Elliott, Kyle Busch, Johnson, Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Keselowski, McMurray and Clint Bowyer.

Elliott followed in some superstar footsteps when he made his Cup debut in 2015. Gordon owns a stake in Elliott's No. 24 auto, which Gordon drove before retiring following the 2015 season. These drivers finished 13th, 16th, 14th, and 20th. Finishing 23rd at Chicagoland Speedway to kickoff the playoffs costed Newman valuable points.

"I think we'll both be working together this weekend", Dillon said of racing with Newman.

"I love the second set of races", Dillon said.

Elliott was crushed, Newman was irked, Gordon stirred the pot. Also advancing (in order): Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Blaney, Elliott, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray. Busch has won back-to-back races and four of the past nine after a frustrating 20-race winless streak to open the year.

"When you are Chase and you have been leading for that long and you've lost that amount of distance to the auto behind you, you've got to move around", Busch said. Earnhardt has run well at Dover historically, and his 2001 win (which was the first NASCAR race after the terrorist attacks of 9/11) is one of the highlights of his career.

Quote: "Well, we just weren't good enough, as simple as that".

"We got really, really lucky on that caution", Stenhouse said. Jimmie Johnson finished third. Earning only five playoff points and having inconsistent runs throughout the regular season, the No. 31 team needed to have solid finishes in all three races of the opening round to advance.

"I wished I would have qualified better. Usually, if you run well at Dover, you run well at Charlotte, so we are excited to go to next week as well".

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