Kyle Busch re-took the lead from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and polesitter Denny Hamlin on a Lap 96 restart and currently paces the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway at the halfway point.
Busch has led 55 of the initial 100 laps, as he looks to bring JGR and Toyota their first Sprint Cup victory at ACS after winning the Nationwide Series’ 300-miler there yesterday.
Hamlin has been steady up front all day, while his current rival, Joey Logano, has risen to third after qualifying within the Top 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has jumped from 15th at the start to 4th after 100 laps, and Matt Kenseth, the third JGR driver, sits in fifth.
Starting from the rear of the field, Greg Biffle and Brad Keselowski have had different fortunes today trying to get back up front. Biffle has managed to climb up to tenth place, but Keselowski was hit with a speeding penalty on pit road during the most recent yellow period and sits 23rd.
Max Verstappen has picked his illegal pass on Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap of the United States Grand Prix as his favorite overtake of the Formula 1 season.
Verstappen was one of F1’s most prolific passers through 2017, making 22 overtaking moves as per Pirelli’s end of year data.
When asked to pick out his favorite in a post-season interview on his official website, Verstappen picked his bold move on Raikkonen at the Circuit of The Americas that sparked controversy when he was penalized for completing the overtake off-track.
The Red Bull driver had charged from 16th on the grid to cross the line third, only for a five-second time penalty to deny him a podium and drop him to fourth in a snap call made before the post-race ceremony.
“Of course, at first your initial reaction is something like: ‘Why? It was a great move.’ But when you look at the rules, it was not correct,” Verstappen said.
“Nothing was by the book that whole weekend. Drivers were getting off track without being penalized for it. But you always need to focus on the positives: it was still a nice race and everyone enjoyed the excitement all the way down to the final lap.
“It’s always nice to be on the podium, but to finish fourth after having started sixteenth, is still a great result.
“It wasn’t as painful as most people thought it was. In the end I made my peace with it.”
Asked if it was his best move of the year, Verstappen said: “Yes, because this year I actually didn’t have that many overtakes.
“With this car you are actually only able to overtake on the straights, which is really not that satisfying compared to last year.”