Martin Truex Jr. dominated Sunday at Dover (Delaware) International Speedway for his second victory in the first three Chase races.
Tony Stewart finished 13th and the three-time NASCAR champion was knocked out of contention in the first elimination race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Chris Buescher and Chip Ganassi teammates Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray also dropped out of the Chase. The field was sliced from 16 drivers to 12.
Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch joined Truex and Austin Dillon in the next round that opens at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Truex won for the fourth time this season in the No. 78 Chevrolet and paired this Chase win with his opening victory at Chicagoland. Only six cars finished on the lead lap.
“We’re not messing around, I guess,” Truex said. “We are here to get it done.”
Truex won his first career Cup race at Dover in 2007 and didn’t win again until 2013. But his career took off at Furniture Row Racing and he used a win at Pocono last year to make the Chase and become one of four drivers racing for the championship in the finale.
His career exploded this season. Truex led a stunning 392 laps in a Coca-Cola 600 victory and then won at Darlington just two races before the Chase opened. He has led at least 140 laps in three of the last four races.
“The last month has just been ridiculous,” he said.
Harvick won last week at New Hampshire and was the only other driver to earn an automatic berth in the second round.
Also at Dover, Daniel Suarez cruised into the second round of the Chase in the Xfinity Series with a win.
Suarez won his second career Xfinity race a day after rain washed out the race and forced a rare NASCAR doubleheader. NASCAR ran its first Xfinity-Cup doubleheader since April 25, 2010, at Talladega Superspeedway.
Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano all had replacement drivers in the Xfinity race to focus on the Cup race scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
Suarez joined Elliott Sadler in the second round of the Chase.
Ty Dillon was second, followed by Justin Allgaier, Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman. With three top NASCAR Cup stars sitting out, the top five was filled with Xfinity regulars.
Suarez jumped out of his car and ran down the track to grab the checkered flag and take an untraditional victory lap.
Daniel Ricciardo led a one-two finish for the Red Bull team at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang while third-place finisher Nico Rosberg extended his Formula One championship lead after his Mercedes teammate and title rival Lewis Hamilton suffered an engine failure while leading the race.
Hamilton was on track for a victory that would have moved him back above Rosberg in the standings, but his engine failed on lap 40 of 56 at the Sepang International Circuit.
That put Ricciardo into the lead and on his way to his first victory since 2014.
It was a boost for Rosberg, who was in 21st position after a collision on the first corner before fighting back for a creditable third place. Rosberg is now 23 points clear in the standings.
Tommy Johnson Jr. won the Funny Car division in the Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pennsylvania.
Johnson powered his Dodge Charger R/T to a 3.895-second pass at 330.63 mph to beat teammate and points leader Ron Capps.
Johnson has raced to the final rounds in all three NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship events so far to move into second place in the standings, 25 points behind Capps with three races left. Johnson has two victories this season and 14th overall.
Antron Brown won in Top Fuel, Vincent Nobile in Pro Stock, and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle.