Yesterday’s Apache 400 at Dover International Speedway seemed to be Chase Elliott’s big break. Or so we thought. We all have waited for the moment that the iconic number 24 rolls back into victory lane with rising star Elliott aboard. With 40 laps remaining we all thought this would finally be the moment that he scored his first victory in the Monster Energy Cup Series.
But, second place Kyle Busch quickly emerged at Elliott’s back bumper as they both approached lap traffic. Ryan Newman who was battling to transfer into the Round of 12 battled Elliott and allowed Busch to pass and score his second consecutive victory in the Round of 16.
After Sunday’s victory, Busch spoke to the media about his win and also his battle with Elliott in the closing laps.
“Man, I saw that carrot out there, and I wanted to go and get it,” said Busch, who won for the fourth time at Dover and the 42nd time in his career. “I got within five lengths and I stalled out and I was like, ‘Oh, man, I think that was it,’ you know? But I got back to the top and got enough momentum back rolling. Chase was kind of plugged up with the lapped cars in front of him, so I think the lapped cars actually helped us with that one.
What was probably the most talked about incident after the race was Jeff Gordon and Newman’s post-race conversation in which Gordon said to Newman, ”Thanks for the help,” referring to Newman racing Elliott a little too hard. The two would exchange words and that was that. Newman would not make the Round of 12.
The four drivers eliminated from the next round include Newman, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Austin Dillion.
The Round of 12 kicks off this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on your local NBC channel.