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Kyle Busch earned the win at the Apache Warrior 400, his second straight victory in the NASCAR playoffs.

Chase Elliott led for 138 laps down the stretch, but Busch passed him with two laps to go and held on for the victory. While he had already clinched a spot in the Round of 12, he is in even better position going forward.

Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch were all eliminated from contention Sunday as they sit on the outside of the top 12 spots in the Monster Energy Cup standings. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. survived with the 12th and final spot after his 19th-place finish.

Here are the final results from Dover International Speedway:

1. Kyle Busch (18)

2. Chase Elliott (24)

3. Jimmie Johnson (48)

4. Martin Truex Jr. (78)

5. Kyle Larson (42)

6. Clint Bowyer (14)

7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88)

8. Daniel Suarez (19)

9. Jamie McMurray (1)

10. Brad Keselowski (2)

           

Elliott was hoping for his first career victory at this level, and he appeared ready to go while leading for nearly the entire final portion of the match.

However, Busch just wouldn’t go away and closed in on Elliott. Here is a look at the final pass just before the white flag, via NASCAR on NBC:


He held on for the victory, earning some high praise from Marty Smith of ESPN:


As the third race in this stage, there was also a lot of focus on the final spots in the next round. Newman and Stenhouse were close, but Stenhouse ended up holding on by two points.

Here are the drivers now advancing to the Round of 12:


Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch had already clinched spots in the next round with wins over the past two weeks, but there was pressure on the rest of the field to come through with positive results.

This led to a tense race with everyone doing what they could to pick up spots wherever possible.

Although there weren’t too many cautions early, there was a significant stoppage when Jeffrey Earnhardt forced a red flag:



Other than that, the first stage was relatively clean, with Brad Keselowski taking over the lead from Truex and finishing in first place at the end of Stage 1.

NASCAR on NBC showed the finish while noting the importance after 120 laps:


The second stage was just as important with everyone keeping an eye on the playoff standings. Kyle Larson took control of the action and held on to his lead through the Stage 2 finish, earning himself some points with the win:


Bob Pockrass of ESPN broke down the implications of the stage results, noting only six spots were up for grabs by the time the race headed into its final stretch:


The race continued with Elliott taking command, leading lap after lap ahead of Truex, Kyle Busch and others.

A Kurt Busch pit road penalty sunk the No. 41 car, but the rest of the playoff field was doing everything possible to move toward the front.

Meanwhile, Kyle Busch charged hard into second place and closed the gap nearly each lap, finally moving into first place with two laps remaining. There was no question who would end up in first place at this point as the No. 18 cruised to the checkered flag.

Nick Bromberg of Yahoo Sports discussed Busch’s career marks:


The playoffs continue with the next stage of three matches, beginning with the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway next Sunday.



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