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First track on the road to the Monster Championship seen 16 cars with neon green trim to show they are the elite team going for the trophy.  Also for other drivers to know these 16 are racing for a championship.  No one told the 52 car that which smashed Kyle Busch’s chance of winning the South Point 400 in Las Vegas.  Busch ran up the back of the 52 car driven by rookie Garrett Smithley, making it difficult for Busch to catch his teammate Martin Truex Jr in the #19 (as Truex got the checkers) and difficult for reports to get an interview with any answers from Busch post race as Kyle finished 19th.  Kyle reactions and answers to reporters was “Ill here so I won’t be fined”, “No”, and “don’t care”.   

Truex has locked his spot to move to next round.  After 3 races if a driver wins, they move on to next round of three races, and after the three races, the bottom 3 winless and least of points are not eligible to move to next round. Just cause a driver has been or will be eliminated, they can still race for wins and leave less secured spots open for eligible Cup drivers to move to next round.  On to a good old southern NASCAR track of Richmond for the 2nd race of the first round of the Chase to the Cup Championship.
The last race of the Monster season to lock in the 16 Chase drivers to go for the Monster Cup Championship.  #18 Gibbs team and Kyle Busch is the regular season championship with 4 wins and 13 top fives.  Kyle was hoping on another Cup win to end the season with a repeat from winning the Xfinity race the day before the Cup race.  

Kevin Harvick in the #4 Stewart-Haas Ford secured a win and was able to kiss the bricks at the Brickyard from famed Indy historic track.  Ford was strong picking up second place was #22 Penske Ford Joey Logano.   Having the fans on their feet and the hope to see the iconic Richard Petty #43car driven by Bubba Wallace get the win, but came in a strong and best run of his career.  
This locked the field with the top 16 drivers based on wins and points to go for the 2019 Championship. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, Ryan Blaney, and Clint Bowyer.  
Missing the Chase for the first time and first year in Chase history without Lowes as a sponsorship is 7 time champion Jimmie Johnson.   Johnson is tied with two others with most NASCAR Championships with 7 titles, Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty. 
A fully packed track attendance enjoyed the retro paint schemes of the likeness of days gone by in the racing community.   Part of the fun is to pick out paint jobs from years to decades ago on current cars brings much excitement and nostalgia to the South Carolina race weekend. 

Not only that but Dale Earnhardt Jr returned to the car for the Xfinity race!  

Jr was the driver in the Hellmann’s Mayonnaise car which he got a top ten finish in 5th place.  Not only first race of the year, but the retired driver and current broadcaster tackled the race after a scary airplane crash a few weeks ago. 
Denny Hamlin also ran the 18 Gibbs Sports Clip Car and got the win, briefly.   Post race inspection disqualified Hamlin and marked him as the last finishing spot of the race, bumping all other cars up a spot.  Second place Cole Custer in the 00 Ford was declared the winning of the Sports Clips VFW 200. Winning the Bojangles SOUTHERN 500 Monster Cup race was Erik Jones in the 20 Joe Gibbs Toyota.  Jones had been on the hot seat this year with only Gibbs driver winless but the luck changed at the Lady In Black.  The two Kyles, Kyle Larson in the #42 Chevy and Kyle Busch #18 Toyota finished 2nd and 3rd.  

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