Kyle Busch jumped out in front to take complete control on Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In the last 10-lap race on the final restart he drove past the competition with a 1.274 second victory over Kyle Larson. This was his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win on the Charlotte track which remained elusive until Saturday night.
Busch put the peddled to the metal in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to the inside of Brad Keseloswki in the No. 2 Team Penske Ford, who was running on old tires as the pack roared toward Turn 1 on the final restart. Through the first two curves Busch cleared both Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson on the outside lane to gain the lead he would never relinguish to his competitors.
Meanwhile, Johnson Stage 3 winner pursued relentlessly, however, he was unable to catch Busch. Kyle Larson 20-lap winner of Stage 1 and 2 races passed Johnson for second place on the final lap.
This victory is huge for Busch since it was his first All-Star race win and he earned the million dollar payout. The team did not have the fastest car going into the race, but they made all the right moves and decisions when it mattered most.
Larson had the highest average finish in the first three 20-lap stages, Larson was first onto pit road at the final break. However, a glitch in the pits cost him three positions, and with Keselowski staying out on the track with no fresh tires available, Larson restarted in fifth position leaving him only with a narrow window of opportunity to get to the front in the final 10-lap stage.
During the Monster Open, the 50-lap three stage qualifying race prior to the All-Star race some of the most dramatic racing action occurred. Clint Bowyer won big in Stage 1 leading the entire race from start to finish. Then Ryan Blaney won the second stage to advance to the main event.
In the 10-lap final race Chase Elliot, Daniel Suarez, and Erik Jones were battling for the lead as they approached the tri-oval prior to the Turn 1. Jones made a move to the inside lane in an attempt to pass Elliott, he clipped the infield grass and shattered his chances when the splitter dug in burning up fluids. This incident was the only major delay as the track crew cleaned up the track. Suarez continued on winning the stage in rather easy fashion over Austin Dillon and Chase Elliot who finished in second and third place.
Chase Elliot became the final addition to the Monster Energy All-Star race field of 20 drivers by winning the fan vote.
The top 5 drivers in the final 10-lap stage race finished in the following order Kyle Busch the winner, second Kyle Larson, third Jimmie Johnson, fourth Kurt Busch and fifth Jamie McMurray.
The next big race will be the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway over the Memorial Day Weekend on May 28th at 6:00 pm eastern time on FOX.