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Eric Jones took the lead when Kyle Busch’s engine exploded, then ran away from Denny Hamlin after the final restart 20 laps from the finish to win the opener NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race at Darlington Raceway on Sunday night.
Hamlin, seeded sixth in the playoffs, latched onto Jones’ rear shock absorber on the last lap, but was unable to pass the winning pass. Jones went to his second win of his career in Darlington and Third NASCAR victory.
It was also the 200th win for the 43rd iconic car, and the one most associated with it Hall of Fame Richard Petty.
“He said if I win, I’ll get a (cowboy) hat,” Jones laughed.
Jones became the first driver without a playoff to win the opening match of a 10-race NASCAR race to a title. He did this because many of the top seeds had malfunctions and debris.
Along with Bosch’s explosion, No. 9 seed Kevin Harvick saw his car on fire in a scary seen state. Harvick dashed away from his parked car to safety.
Top seed Chase Elliott had gone through the first stage, slipped into a wall, and hit Chase Briscoe when he tore his suspension and was out of the race.
Kyle Larson, the defending champion, was three laps into the opening stage after engine problems. Larson finished 12th.
Hamlin came in second, followed by three other playoff players in Tyler Riddick, Joey Logano and Christopher Bell. Michael McDowell was sixth, then Brad Keselowski, William Byron, and Bubba Wallace
Bosch led 155 of 367 laps, the most of any person. It ended on the 30th.
“It’s unfortunate circumstances,” Bush said. “We just had a great car and didn’t come up with anything to show for it. That’s what I hate.”
Chase Elliott was outside the South 500 before he reached the halfway point. Elliott slipped in turn, then collected playoff participant Chase Briscoe. Elliott’s suspension was damaged. His crew couldn’t fix it in the pits and took it to the garage.
Elliott finished 36th, and last in the field. His plans going forward: “Run better than we did today.”
The most terrifying incident occurred on the final stage when Harvick caught fire on lap 276 as he went down the front extension. Harvick quickly pulled the car onto the lawn and jumped out of the car, running to safety.
Moments later during Harvick’s warning, JJ Yeley’s car drove into the burning pits. This fire was also extinguished.
Harvick said it’s another safety issue with the next generation car that needs to be fixed by NASCAr.
“What a disaster, man,” Harvick said. “There is no reason…we are here in a pit with a burning car and cannot finish the race during qualifying” because of the unreliable parts.
Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall at the “Too Tough To Tame” track, as the first NASCAR college athlete to have a name, photo, and likeness with Darlington Raceway. McCall did some promotional work for the track and even put his face on the side of Ryan Vargas’ #6 Xfinity Series car here.
was McCool NCAA Recording Device Passing efficiency was 207.6 last season. He threw three TD passes and ran for the fourth as the cheers opened the season with a 38-28 victory over Army on Saturday night.
The first round of qualifiers Continue in Kansas Next sunday. Kurt Busch, who is currently recovering from a concussion in a crash in Pocono, won the race there in May. He gave up his place in the play-off because he was not given medical clearance to return to the track.