With Martin Truex Jr. coming off his fifth win of the season last weekend in the first postseason event of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, the rest of the drivers were put on notice.
Sunday, at the ISM Connect 300 in New Hampshire, it's safe to say that Kyle Busch answered the call with his 41st career Cup win. After pulling in the checkered flag, Busch advances to the Round of 12.
Retweet to congratulate @KyleBusch and @ToyotaRacing on advancing in the #NASCARPlayoffs! https://t.co/Llk70QgidK2017-9-24 21:36:15
Truex led for much of the race, easily leading the way with 50 laps left in Stage 2. Finishing fifth on the day, Truex will feel a little hard done by, as he was looking to clinch his 20th stage of the season until a pileup at Lap 149 took away his lead.
Gulp. Big wreck collects #NASCARPlayoffs contenders, presented by @MonsterEnergy. https://t.co/00CsO4MLQJ2017-9-24 19:42:18
With 109 of the first 150 laps under his belt, Truex's No. 78 car was looking as good and fast as ever on the track, but Busch was fortunate enough to miss the crash and continued on to clinch his 13th stage victory of the season.
Here's a look at the day's final standings after the New Hampshire 300, per NASCAR.com:
1. Kyle Busch, 58 points
2. Kyle Larson, 50 points
3. Matt Kenseth, 48 points
4. Brad Keselowski, 45 points
5. Martin Truex Jr., 47 points
6. Erik Jones, 45 points
7. Clint Bowyer, 30 points
8. Daniel Suarez, 29 points
9. Ryan Blaney, 36 points
10. Joey Logano, 27 points
Looking ahead, there is still a lot of racing left, including eight events over the next month-and-a-half. Here's a quick glance at the rest of the 2017 Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series schedule:
Oct. 1—Apache Warrior 400 (Dover International Speedway)
Oct. 8—Bank of America 500 (Charlotte Motor Speedway)
Oct. 15—Alabama 500 (Talladega Superspeedway)
Oct. 22—Hollywood Casino 400 (Kansas Speedway)
Oct. 29—First Data 500 (Martinsville Speedway)
Nov. 5—AAA Texas 500 (Texas Motor Speedway)
Nov. 12—Can-Am 500 (Phoenix Raceway)
Nov. 19—Ford EcoBoost 400 (Homestead-Miami Speedway)
One Twitter user was able to screenshot the updated standings following the race broadcast, showing Truex and Busch sitting comfortably atop the rankings with one win each, followed by Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin to round out the top five.
#Rowdy18 🏁 🏆 @NHMS @hasbrialeTV
#NASCARPlayoffs after #ism300 @NHMS #NASCAR #NASCARonNBCSN @NASCARonNBC @NBCSN #NASCARonFS1 #MENCS #ismconnect300 https://t.co/4IQ7LDCm5s2017-9-24 21:44:21
The playoffs will continue next Sunday, October 1, at Dover International Speedway with the Apache Warrior 400. With time running out for many drivers, next week's race will be a must-win for anyone looking to keep a championship run alive.