Kyle Busch has officially qualified himself for the Chase.
Busch's No. 18 Toyota dominated the competition in Sunday's Overton's 400 at Pocono Raceway, leading 74 of the 160 laps on his way to his first win of the 2017 season. He defeated second-place Kevin Harvick by more than six seconds, and only four cars came within 16 seconds of a dominant effort by Busch.
"There was no battle. He was way faster than we were," Harvick said, per the Associated Press (via the Los Angeles Times).
NASCAR on NBC @NASCARonNBC
.@KyleBusch used the bump-and-run to get by Kevin Harvick for the win today @PoconoRaceway! Watch the move/final lap here! #NASCARonNBCSN https://t.co/FQnInIH76r2017-7-30 22:53:53
While he won the All-Star Race in May, Busch's Pocono excellence comes after a bit of a frustrating stretch. He'd finished 12th or worse in three of the previous four races to push himself down the points standings during a critical juncture of the season.
"We've all been fighting all year long and just wasn't sure why," Busch said. "This is something I've been waiting for for a long, long time. It's been a frustrating year but an awesome day today."
Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.
Busch had been winless for 36 consecutive points races, dating back to his triumph at Indianapolis last year. He now has 39 wins for his career on the Monster Energy Series and his 176th win overall on NASCAR's major circuits.
For a driver who had never won at Pocono before Sunday, he was by far the most dominant driver in this field, winning the first stage of the race.
"Just need a lot of speed to keep up with the Toyotas," Keselowski told NBCSN. "They're about a half second faster than the field right now. You got to be perfect and then some and my guys there were perfect, but not enough to overcome the speed there. Got to go to work. Those guys have found a bunch and it doesn't look like NASCAR is going to take whatever it is away."
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They're racing... wrecking at Pocono! A Turn 3 crash involves Austin Dillon, Danica Patrick and more! NBCSN or: https://t.co/V8eZFcZjL5 https://t.co/ZfI3HPwVFi2017-7-30 19:27:43
The day was not so pleasant for Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth, who spun out on the opening lap and caused an eight-car crash. Kenseth wound up rebounding and finishing in ninth place, but others involved in the wreck were not so lucky.
Aric Almirola and Matt DiBenedetto both failed to finish the first lap before having their days end.
Jimmie Johnson wound up finishing in 35th after being involved in an accident with teammate Kasey Kahne on Lap 58.
Overton's 400 Results
1. Kyle Busch
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Daniel Suarez
8. Erik Jones
9. Matt Kenseth
10. Chase Elliott