Auto racing roundup: Busch wins duel of Kyles at Chicagoland

Kyle Larson

How hot is too hot for racing? Busch tied Harvick for the most victories in the series this season, marking only the fourth time in series history that two drivers each have won five times in the first 17 races. The green flag is scheduled to fly at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday as 15-time Most Popular Driver Award victor Dale Earnhardt Jr. prepares to make his professional broadcasting debut.

Drivers start a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Sunday, July 1, 2018. Truex is the defending race victor, when this race was part of the playoff "Chase". "So that's kind of the approach we'll take".

The race also kicked off with one of the non-usual suspects leading the way, Paul Menard of Wood Brothers Racing.

If things had gone perfectly, Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson would have been racing side-by-side, using their skills at maneuvering their machines to produce a photo finish.

Larson slid sideways, as the momentum of Busch's charge into the corner carried his vehicle into the outside wall.

Then, just like that, it was gone. I was able to lead all of those laps. "Just really hot this afternoon".

The first lap he led was the 209th. We'll get to some more drivers looking to clinch their place later in the story.

Truex appears to be picking up some momentum as he tries to become the first repeat NASCAR Cup Series champion since Jimmie Johnson won five in a row from 2006 to 2010. And what a battle it was, with Kurt Busch and Harvick going all the way up to the wall before Harvick prevailed. Larson, who led for seven laps shortly before that, hoped to follow up on his first-ever win at the track and put himself in a position to do that, thanks to Busch being slowed by late lap traffic.

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Larson powered by Harvick to get into second.

Brad Keselowski gave Team Penske a sweep of the Saturday practice sessions at Chicagoland Speedway.

On a day with excessive temperatures and the potential for rain, several racers with good stories held leads and the series' top performers, as well as Saturday's Xfinity Series victor who was racing 700 miles over two days, were positioned for an exciting finish.

Another caution, this time for trouble with Corey LaJoie, brought on another round of pit stops. Absolutely. Was Larson's an aggressive move?

Busch closed quickly and bumped Larson in the back, sending him sliding toward the bottom of the track while the No. 18 went up towards the wall.

With less than 10 laps to go, Larson showed the dangers of running out near the wall when he brushed it.

The drama finally wasn't over until the last lap when Saturday's Xfinity victor, Kyle Larson, tried to slide past Busch but bumped him, only to be bumped in return a short time later to end his title hopes as Busch went on to capture his first NASCAR Cup Series victory at the racetrack since 2008.

Busch then turned his attention to the grandstands, which was a mix of both cheers and boos after that thrilling, but controversial last lap.

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