Photo by: Jared C. Tilton
Kyle Busch won for the fifth time this season and the crowd booed, but not for the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion.
The chants were for Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin.
Hamlin was running second with three laps to go when he put the nose of his Toyota to the back of the No. 24 of Chase Elliott, spinning the driver and stripping him of his first career win.
The incident sent the First Data 500 into overtime and ended after a multi-car incident on the frontstrech. Busch beat Martin Truex Jr. to the line by .141 seconds, for the second time at “The Paperclip” and the 43rd time of his career.
The win earns Busch a place in the Final 4 for the third straight year.
“I wanted to get a better restart, pinch Denny down a little bit, but it actually kind of worked out better for me that he got ahead a little bit, gave me a gap,” Busch said. “I got down (to the inside lane), and he got into Turn 3 and just pushed up the race track and I knew I had to plug that hole right away cause I was just going to get beat on from behind,
“So I got up in there and rooted him out of the way a little bit, and we drag-raced down the front straightaway and deep into (Turn) 1, I just wheel-hopped, chattered the rear tires and it was sideways getting in there trying to calm it down with the brakes and everything else. Was able to get through there luckily somehow – I don’t know how – and beat Truex off of (Turn) 4 back to the start/finish line.”
Brad Keselowski finished fourth after leading 108 laps and securing both stage wins. Keselowski fell short of a victory after contact with Elliott sent the Team Penske driver up the track and out of contention for the win in the Round of 8.
Joey Logano finished in the 24th position after a tire rub sent the driver of the No. 22 spinning on Lap 492.
Elliott obtained the lead on the restart, but was pumped from behind by the No. 11 FedEx Walgreen’s Toyota of Hamlin.
Elliott showed his displeasure by engaging in a heated discussion with Hamlin on the backstretch, but remained poised in his remarks about the incident.
“I got punted from behind and wrecked in Turn 3 leading the race,” Elliott said. “I don’t know what his problem was. It was unnecessary. I hadn’t raced him dirty all day long. There was no reason for that, and he comes over and talks to me a second ago and tells me he had somebody pushing him into Turn 3.
“I thought that was funny, because there was nobody within two car lengths of him into Turn 3 behind myself. I don’t know what the deal was, but it is so disappointing. We had the best car I’ve ever had here at Martinsville. And had an opportunity to go straight to Homestead and because of him, we don’t.”
Elliott sits eighth in the Playoff standings, 90 points behind the leader and 26 behind Kevin Harvick, who holds the last seed into the Final 4 at Homestead.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series head to Texas Motor Speedway on November 5th. Who will be the next to earn their chance at the 2017 championship? Will a non-playoff driver play spoiler?
Find out November 5, 2017 at 2 p.m ET on the NBC Sports Network.