The Finish Order: The Monster Energy Toyota Tames The Monster Mile-Again
BY DAVE GRAYSON
We’re all aware that the official mascot of the Dover International Speedway is a large concrete monster, with big red eyes, named Myles. He sits in front of the speedway’s fan entrance holding a race car in his hand looking like he’s going to throw that car if anyone crosses him.
However, when the checkers fell on the September 27th Dover 200, it was a Toyota with the logo Monster Energy who tamed the Myles the Monster.
Kyle Busch and his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota led the final 101, of 200, laps around Dover’s concrete covered one mile oval and scored his fifth series’ win of the season and 68th career win in 291 starts. It was also his fifth win at Dover which breaks a series all time win tie with runner up Joey Logano.
The winning move of the race actually came on pit road on lap 99. Busch’s crew produced a flawless stop that allowed their driver to get off of pit road first ahead of Joey Logano, who led 95 laps during the first half of the race.
From that point it was all Kyle Busch who led the remaining 101 laps. The margin of victory was 2.545 seconds over runner up Logano. Chase Elliott, Chris Buescher and Elliott Sadler completed the top five.
Wait a minute, haven’t we seen this finish before? Actually, yes we have. It was at the Dover race back on May 31st when Busch also beat Logano off of pit road and led the remainder of the laps. Busch has apparently figured out how to work around Myles the Monster and has now swept both Dover races for the second time in his career. The first sweep was back in 2010.
In victory lane Busch said: “the Monster Energy Toyota was just awesome. I can’t say enough about our guys. (crew chief) Adam Stevens made some great calls today to keep our track position.”
Chase Elliott’s third place finish allowed him to gain additional points on his lead over Regan Smith. Elliott now holds a 26 point advantage over his JR Motorsports team mate and a 46 point lead over Ty Dillon in third.
However, Elliott’s third place finish almost didn’t happen. On lap 41 the caution flag came out for the second time following a two car accident. Elliott, trying to avoid the melee, sustained body damage on the left front headlight area. That contact sent him into the wall which caused damage to the entire right side of the car.
Elliott was able to circle the track, at yellow flag speed, and pit with the lead laps cars. That when the team made a very smart move. They took two tires, when other teams were taking four, and got their car out so Elliott could lead a caution lap thereby gaining a bonus point. One yellow lap later, Elliott returned to pit road for two additional tires and repairs to the right side. He restarted the race mired down in 24th and then, 42 laps later, returned to the top five in the running order.
By the way, that’s how a team wins NASCAR championships.