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Harvick grabs playoff point with big pass of Kurt Busch on last lap of Stage 2

A last-lap pass in Stage 2 by Kevin Harvick over teammate Stewart-Haas Racing Kurt Busch lifted the 2014 champion to the stage victory, a series-best ninth of the season. Harvick edged by Busch coming off of Turn 4 to nab the playoff point.

“Never expected that from a teammate,” Busch said of how Harvick passed him for the stage win in a portion of his radio transmission that aired on NBCSN.

MORE: Busch reacts to pass | RELATED: Stage 2 results

Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney made up the top five. Blaney used a two-tire call during the round of pit stops following a Lap 127 caution for debris to secure a top-five spot in the stage. Clint Bowyer rallied to get back on the lead lap and finished eighth in the stage.

Aric Almirola led more than half of the stage — 41 laps — but had a loose wheel in the latter half of Stage 2. He pitted under green from the lead on Lap 142. He finished the stage in 26th but in position for the free pass on the ensuing caution.

Finish Driver Team Race Points
1 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing 10
2 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing 9
3 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing 8
4 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing 7
5 Ryan Blaney Team Penske 6
6 Brad Keselowski Team Penske 5
7 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports 4
8 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing 3
9 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing 2
10 Joey Logano Team Penske 1

STAGE 1 RECAP

Aric Almirola led the final 21 laps of Stage 1 in the Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway to secure his first stage win and playoff point of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The laps led were the Stewart-Haas Racing driver’s first since leading a lap late in the Daytona 500 in February.

Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. finished second and third respectively in Stage 1. Both drivers came from the middle to back of the field at the start of the race. Larson started the day in the 18th position, while Truex started 36th after his qualifying time was disallowed following the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota car failing post-qualifying technical inspection. Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick completed the top five in the stage.

RELATED: Stage 1 results

The results were not as good for SHR’s Clint Bowyer. The Kansas native led 21 laps in Stage 1 but two speeding penalties under green flag conditions put him two laps down in 30th place at the conclusion of the stage. He got busted for speeding on a green flag stop around the midway point of the stage and had to serve a pass thru penalty. The driver of the No. 14 Ford then sped again during the ensuing time down pit road — he was supposed to serve a stop-and-go penalty but went down pit road as if it was a pass through. The two-time winner in 2018 then came down a third time to serve his stop-and-go penalty.

Pole winner Paul Menard finished the stage in 13th.

Finish Driver Team Race Points
1 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing 10
2 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing 9
3 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing 8
4 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing 7
5 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing 6
6 Brad Keselowski Team Penske 5
7 Ryan Blaney Team Penske 4
8 Joey Logano Team Penske 3
9 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports 2
10 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing 1