Fresh off his first win of the season, Kyle Busch has grabbed the pole for Sunday's race at Watkins Glen International. The strategy paid off as Truex retook the lead with three laps remaining in the 90-lap I Love New York 355 at the Glen. I think it'll take more than points to make the playoffs.
PREGNANT PAUSE: Regan Smith was at the track to replace Hamlin if the Joe Gibbs Racing driver needed to leave to attend girlfriend Jordan Fish upon the birth of their second child.
Rookie Daniel Suarez was third, followed by Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer. Hamlin entered qualified for the playoffs as a race-winner while Bowyer was outside the points transfer boundary.
But Busch, last week's victor at Pocono Raceway, was sent tumbling down the leaderboard after a midrace collision with Brad Keselowski, who lost control entering the backstretch chicane on Lap 45.
Keselowski bounced into Busch and both slid off course.
Busch, who dominated qualifying earlier in the day, was the class of the field early and gained a big lead in the esses after the green flag dropped and dominated the first stage, leading all 20 laps. Keselowski led 20 laps, but was forced to pit, surrendering the lead with three laps left.
Busch, who overcame a pit road penalty early in Saturday's Xfinity race at The Glen and rallied to win, had to return to the pits after his first stop to check for a loose wheel and restarted 34th. Engine trouble sidelined his Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet after 22 laps.
His next race will come next Sunday on August 13 at the Pure Michigan 400 from Michigan International Speedway.
With the conclusion of Sunday's race, four more events remain before the playoffs begin September 17 at the Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois.