NASCAR's Battle of the Kyles at Chicagoland Speedway

Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson exchange on the final lap of the NASCAR Cup Series Overton's 400 race at Chicagoland produced the best race of the season.

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton's 400 race at Chicagoland was arguably one of the best races of the season. From the start to the finish when Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch took the checkered flag behind the wheel of his No. 18 Toyota Camry, it was more than a race on a 1.5 tri-oval speedway—it was a fantastic spectacle.

When the green flag dropped at Chicagoland Speedway, it was Paul Menard in the iconic No. 21 Ford Fusion for Wood Brothers Racing, who led the field from the pole. However, Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney was the leader when the first lap concluded. Menard quickly slipped to the fourth spot and never regained the top position opening the door for some familiar faces to compete for the win.

The day appeared to be shaping up for another all top-10 finish from Stewart-Haas Racing and Ford Performance. Clint Bowyer took the lead from Blaney, who led 19 laps of the race. A pair of pit road penalties sent Bowyer to the back of the field. After being down two laps, he recovered ending the race with a top-5 finish. Aric Almirola conquered the first stage win of his career when he captured Stage 1. Kurt Busch was in a position to win Stage 2 after seizing the lead from Almirola, who had to pit thanks to a loose wheel, until Kevin Harvick passed him to take the Stage 2 victory at lap 160.

The Final Lap

Throughout the race, there were some exciting battles. At lap 213 Kyle Busch took the lead for the first time during the race with Harvick running second. Chip Ganassi Racing driver Kyle Larson eventually moved up to second, which set up the clash of not only the race but the season. With less than five laps to go, Larson and Kyle Busch had a tough time getting around lapped traffic thanks in part to Ryan Newman, who is notorious for not letting cars pass him. Larson made contact with Kyle Busch with one lap to go. Larson recovered, but in true “Rowdy Busch” fashion, he returned the nudge and dumped him on Turn 4 of the final lap for the win. The move was met with an enormous amount of boos from the crowd.  The drivers said it was just racing. "You don't like that kind of racing don't watch," said Kyle Busch. When asked about Kyle Busch intentionally wrecking him, Larson said, he wasn't upset.  

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton's 400 at Chicagoland Speedway Results

(Position Finished, Driver, Manufacturer, Laps Completed, Laps Led)

1. Kyle Busch, Toyota, 267, led 59
2. Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 267, led 7
3. Kevin Harvick, Ford, 267, led 39
4. Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 267
5. Clint Bowyer, Ford, 267, led 21
6. Erik Jones, 267
7. Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 267
8. Joey Logano, Ford, 267
9. Brad Keselowski, Ford, 267, led 16
10. Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 267
11. Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 267
12. Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 267
13. Paul Menard, Ford, 267
14. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 267
15. Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 267, led 3
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 266
17. Kurt Busch, Ford, 266, led 20
18. Ryan Blaney, Ford, 266, led 19
19. Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 266
20. William Byron, Chevrolet, 266
21. Michael McDowell, Ford, 266
22. Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 266
23. Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 266
24. A.J. Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 266
25. Aric Almirola, Ford, 266, led 70
26. Trevor Bayne, Ford, 265
27. Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 264
28. Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 264
29. Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 262
30. Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 261
31. Gray Gaulding, Toyota, 260
32. Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 259
33. Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 255
34. Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 233
35. B.J. McLeod, Chevrolet, 227
36. Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 224
37. Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 189, ?, led 13
38. David Ragan, Ford, 189
39. Timmy Hill, Toyota, 185, oil cooler

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

JOLIET, IL - JULY 01: Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Skittles Red White & Blue Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton's 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 1, 2018 in Joliet, Illinois.

The Overton’s 400 race at Chicagoland had everything a fan could want in a race. There was passing, tire falloff, summer heat, lead changes, paint trading, and some good old hard racing down to the last lap. For fans, it was one of the most exciting races of the season so far. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is rolling into Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero Sugar 400, which should keep the entertainment high going. Qualifying for Coke Zero Sugar 400 Busch Pole is 4:10 p.m. EST Fri., July 6. The 160-lap race is 7:00 p.m. EST Sat., July 7. It’s Daytona and we all know restrictor plate racing never disappoints.