NASCAR Playoffs at Martinsville results: Kyle Busch wins; Elliott, Hamlin get into it

Kyle Busch punched his ticket to the Championship 4, surviving a wild finish to win in overtime at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. The victory is Busch's second of his career at The Paperclip.

The 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title winner will be headed to his third consecutive Championship 4 after claiming the Round of 8 opener. His checkered flag Sunday was Busch's fifth of the season.

It was nearly the first career victory for Chase Elliott, who had the lead with less than five laps to go. However, Denny Hamlin got into the back of the No. 24 and spun him out, crushing his hopes yet again. After the checkered flag flew, Elliott put Hamlin into the wall and the two got out of their cars to mince words.

"It was definitely unnecessary and uncalled for." said Elliott to NBCSN after finishing the race 27th and last in the Round of 8. "Hamlin's] not even worth my time."

Elliott has been so close to his first career victory multiple times. Throughout the playoffs, the No. 24 has finished as the runner-up three times and nearly took the checkered flag again Sunday. Hamlin posted his reaction to Twitter after the race.

First Data 500 at Martinsville results

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Clint Bowyer
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Kevin Harvick
  6. Trevor Bayne
  7. Denny Hamlin
  8. Ryan Blaney
  9. Matt Kenseth
  10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  12. Jimmie Johnson
  13. Austin Dillon
  14. Ryan Newman
  15. Daniel Suarez
  16. Kasey Kahne
  17. Danica Patrick
  18. Aric Almirola
  19. Michael McDowell
  20. Paul Menard
  21. Chris Buescher
  22. Kurt Busch
  23. Landon Cassill
  24. Joey Logano
  25. Cole Whitt
  26. Erik Jones
  27. Chase Elliott
  28. David Ragan
  29. Jamie McMurray
  30. Ty Dillon
  31. Gray Gaulding
  32. Reed Sorenson
  33. Corey LaJoie
  34. Hermie Sadler
  35. Kyle Weatherman
  36. Carl Long
  37. Kyle Larson
  38. Jeffrey Earnhardt
  39. Matt DiBenedetto
  40. AJ Allmendinger

BOLD -- indicates NASCAR Playoffs Round of 8 driver

POSITION

DRIVER

CAR #

POINTS

BEHIND

WINS

1.

Martin Truex Jr.

78

4117

LEADER

7

2.

Kyle Busch

18

4100

-17

5

3.

Brad Keselowski

2

4079

-38

3

4.

Kevin Harvick

4

4053

-64

1

5.

Jimmie Johnson

48

4050

-67

3

6.

Ryan Blaney

21

4047

-70

1

7.

Denny Hamlin

11

4045

-72

2

8.

Chase Elliott

24

4027

-90

0

Here's how it all went down:

Stage 1: Penske cars dominate as Johnson climbs back

Keselowski won Stage 1 against rival Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Johnson after qualifying seventh. Johnson began the race from the rear after spinning in qualifying and used a plethora of cautions to help guide his way back to the front. 

Before the green flag, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s pregnant wife, Amy, paced the field while raising awareness for breast cancer in a pink Chevrolet. Her husband started the race, his final at Martinsville, from the 21st position.

Logano started the race on the pole and showed off his speed early while playoff contenders Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr. and others chased. Logano, 2016 championship runner-up, of course playing the spoiler after failing to make the NASCAR Playoffs this season.

Just as Logano started to pull away from the field, Round of 12 knockout Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ty Dillon got into each other and brought out the first caution of the day on Lap 35. There was a scheduled competition caution 10 laps later, but NASCAR decided to ax it because of the crash.

Logano won the race off pit road and continued to lead upon the restart. Teammate Brad Keselowski took the lead away from him only a few laps later while future Penske Ford driver Blaney trailed not too far behind.

David Ragan went for a spin in Turn 4 on Lap 61, bringing out the second caution of the day. He was then penalized for a commitment line violation. Stenhouse earned the free pass as the first car a lap down in 36th at the time.

Keselowski held the lead on the restart but surrendered it to Logano roughly 10 laps later. Next, AJ Allmendinger brought out the third caution of the day after getting into it with Danica Patrick. With the two battling from the beginning of the race, a crash appeared inevitable.

Johnson stayed out with teammate Kasey Kahne and completed the comeback by assuming the race lead on the restart. It didn't take long for Keselowski to rocket past Johnson for the race lead with fresher tires. This time he held it for good in the stage, taking the green-and-white checkered.

First Data 500 Stage 1 results

  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Joey Logano
  4. Jimmie Johnson
  5. Martin Truex Jr.
  6. Chase Elliott
  7. Ryan Blaney
  8. Kasey Kahne
  9. Austin Dillon
  10. Denny Hamlin

BOLD -- indicates NASCAR Playoffs Round of 8 drivers

Stage 2: Keselowski, Busch rivalry heats up

Keselowski completed the midrace sweep, winning Stage 2 over Kyle Busch. The No. 18 seemed to have the green-and-white checkered locked down, however lapped traffic opened the door for the No. 2 to assume the lead with less than five laps to go. 

Playoff contender Hamlin dropped from seventh place to 37th after speeding on pit road following Stage 1. It was the No. 11's fifth speeding penalty of the year. Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Busch took the lead on the restart from Keselowski. The No. 18 began the Round of 8 in second place after nearly being knocked out in the second round of the playoffs. Martinsville became the 16th consecutive race led at some point by Busch, which is the longest active streak.

Blaney and Johnson engaged in a fierce battle for sixth place early in the stage with the No. 21 coming out on top. Round of 12 knockout Jamie McMurray had to bring his car into the pits under green for a tire rub after making contact with Erik Jones. Given the shortness of the track, the No. 1 went multiple laps down as a result.

Despite their rivalry, Busch and Keselowski continued to work together to pass through lapped traffic as the stage winded down. Lapped traffic proved to be a slight issue for Elliott, who got his nose into the back of Trevor Bayne's No. 6 while trying to execute the pass.

Keselowski gained ground on Busch toward the end of the stage as the No. 18 struggled to lap his teammate Hamlin, who climbed back into the top 15 after the early setback. Hamlin was able to stay on the lead lap despite being tailed by the leaders for more than 20 laps.

First Data 500 Stage 2 results

  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Joey Logano
  4. Martin Truex Jr.
  5. Chase Elliott
  6. Ryan Blaney
  7. Kevin Harvick
  8. Matt Kenseth
  9. Clint Bowyer
  10. Jimmie Johnson

BOLD -- indicates NASCAR Playoffs Round of 8 drivers

Final Stage: Hamlin and Elliott get into it

Kyle Busch shot ahead of Keselowski for the race lead to open the final stage. As Busch began to pull away, Kyle Larson got into the wall and brought out the caution.

Larson was a surprising Round of 12 knockout given his four race victories this season. It was the second successive week with issues for the No. 42 team. Last week Larson's Chevrolet blew up, crushing his chances at a first career title. He was our spoiler pick for this week's race.

Busch won the race off pit road and held the lead on the restart. Jones again brought out the caution in the Final Stage but was on the receiving end this time. McMurray, whom Jones spun out earlier in the race, got payback by causing the contact this time around. Cole Whitt was also partly responsible for the yellow.

While Busch maintained the lead on the restart, Elliott quickly passed him to take the lead for the first time. The No. 24 pulled away from the field for a little while Busch dropped behind Logano and Keselowski.

Harvick got a little aggressive in the battle for sixth place, bumping Blaney consistently before eventually making the pass. The No. 4 suffered minor damage as a result.

Landon Cassill brought out the eighth caution of the day when got into Front Row Motorsports teammate Ragan and spun out. It was the second crash and caution for Ragan on Sunday.

Keselowski was close to passing Elliott when the yellow came out but he along with Busch were able to make the pass on pit road after a lackluster stop from the No. 24 team. Elliott regained the lead with 115 laps to go, making the pass on Keselowski.

Elliott extended his lead to over a second before running into congested lapped traffic. You might recall lapped traffic being Elliott's Achilles' heel at Dover earlier in the playoffs when he was going for his first career victory there. One of the cars Elliott lapped was his teammate Johnson.

Just as Elliott began to speed away with the lead while Busch and Keselowski battled for second, 50-year-old Carl Long went spinning and brought out the caution. The No. 24 team wouldn't lose ground in the pits this time around, completing a 12.1-second stop to just barely edge out Keselowski by a nose. 

Elliott had a strong restart, but was passed by Keselowski with 30 to go after reports that his car was tight. While it appeared Keselowski was going to easy drive onto victory, Logano's No. 22 went up in smoke and brought out the caution.

Keselowski got loose on the restart, opening the door for Elliott to earn his first career victory but Hamlin said not so fast. The No. 11 got under the No. 24 and spun him out with less than five laps to go forcing the race into overtime.

"He definitely wrecked me," Elliott immediately said on the radio.

Kyle Busch took the lead from Hamlin on the restart and drove on to win in overtime as Hamlin fell into a huge wreck with the field behind him.

Please check out our live blog from this race in case you missed any of the action. It includes highlights, analysis and play-by-play updates.

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