MORE: Stage 2 results
Chase Elliott took advantage of a fast pit stop to jump to the lead on Lap 125 and cruised to the Stage 2 victory in Sunday’s Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. For Elliot, it was his third stage win of the 2017 season and earned him a playoff point to carry with him in the NASCAR Playoffs.
Elliott brought his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to pit road trailing Kevin Harvick in the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, but a quick stop vaulted Elliott into the lead, which he held for the remainder of the stage.
The second stage began with Harvick jumping past Kyle Busch for the lead thanks to a strong restart. The stage only got worse for Busch, who had to bring the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to pit road because of a loose wheel, then was penalized on that stop for a crewmember over the wall too soon.
Busch, who dominated Stage 1, finished 16th in Stage 2.
The start of Stage 2 also was tough on fellow playoff contender Martin Truex Jr., who had to return to pit road after he emerged with two unsecure lug nuts during the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team’s stop between Stages 1 and 2.
Truex rallied to finish third in Stage 2.
Kyle Busch opens NASCAR Playoffs with Stage 1 win at Chicago
MORE: Stage 1 results
Kyle Busch led 78 of the first 80 laps in winning Stage 1 in the Tales of the Turtles 400 on Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway, the opener to the 10-race NASCAR Playoffs. The only time the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota didn’t lead was when Landon Cassill went to the front during a round of pit stops. Busch picked up one playoff point.
The opening stage featured key mistakes for some playoff drivers. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. scraped the wall with the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, then got a commitment line violation when entering pit road.
Stenhouse finished the stage in 30th place, the lowest spot among playoff drivers.
Martin Truex Jr. and Austin Dillon also received pit-road penalties, theirs for speeding as a group of drivers were too fast. Truex finished the stage in 10th place, while Dillon was 22nd.