Where was this kind of finish all season long? For a majority of the season, minus three or four events, the dominance of certain drivers overshadowed some intense racing, but it was never for the lead, and certainly not for the victory.
Fans at Chicagoland Speedway got exactly what they hoped to see, a battle for the win, and one that certainly has been the best battle of the entire season.
Kyle vs. Kyle, Chevrolet vs. Toyota, popularity vs. boos; it is the perfect setup for the start of the latter part of the season.
One lap decided it all. A pass for the lead, a slide up the hill, and a rub of the wall set things up. It also opened the door for exactly what was anticipated…retaliation, but retaliation done the right way. A bump in the corner, a turn sideways, and a slap of the wall all ensued. The slide of Larson went on forever, but never made a loop. Busch smacked the wall hard enough to dent in the fender onto the right front tire, flattening down to the inner liner.
But, it was the Toyota that crossed first, ending an afternoon that saw the heat and humidity effect everyone in the stands, and in the pits. Rowdy was on top, and it clear he wasn’t the Kyle that the fans hoped would be celebrating. Didn’t seem to phase Busch, because he didn’t care, and evidently enjoys all the “cry baby” comments. If Busch were a heel wrestler in this era, he’d probably be Brock Lesnar, because people pay to see him race, and he walks away richer.
Unfortunately, no one cashed in this week in victory, and despite most having a strong finish, one is falling behind in playoff points. Here’s the updated standings after the Overton’s 400:
Sal Sigala Jr. – 655 – Kevin Harvick finished 3rd (4) 23
Ashley Hobbs – 623 – Martin Truex Jr. finished 4th (5) 26
Penny Whitecotton – 622 – Kevin Harvick finished 3rd (5) 26
Trisha Rodisch – 619 – Kevin Harvick finished 3rd (4) 23
Rob Tiongson – 598 – Ryan Blaney finished 18th (2) 10
Misan Akuya – 572 – Kevin Harvick finished 3rd (4) 23
Dustin Parks – 570 – Martin Truex Jr. finished 4th (0) 2
Rob Blount – 554 – Kevin Harvick finished 3rd (2) 14
Billy Fellin – 541 – Kevin Harvick finished 3rd (3) 20
Next Race: NASCAR is reaching the official halfway point of the 2018 season with the upcoming race weekend. It will be race 18 of 36 in a long, agonizing season that has seen weeks of outright domination, some surprises, and currently a clear picture of the title contenders.
Unfortunately, there is nothing clear cut when it comes to the style of racing that is upcoming.
That is because when one thinks they make the right move, another doesn’t, and chaos can come of it. It’s the third restrictor plate race of the season, and that entails another trip to Florida. It is the first time all season the sport returns to a track that has already seen action, as it’s time for another trip to Daytona. But, this event is 100 miles less, and rather than hold it on a Sunday afternoon, this race becomes the ultimate Saturday night showdown.
It’s time to celebrate Independence Day, NASCAR style. Have those picks locked in by Thursday, July 5, at 10 p.m. ET for the Coke Zero Sugar 400.