This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway produced a wild finish that Kyle Busch was able to exploit to become the first championship contender to book his spot in the season finale. No fewer than three drivers appeared to have Sunday's victory in the bag, but each one suffered their own trouble that moved them out of the lead. All the while Busch climbed steadily forward. The race's final restart saw Busch starting side-by-side with teammate Denny Hamlin, and as Hamlin began to pull away, a small mistake allowed Busch to dive toward the inside to take the lead. He then held off Martin Truex Jr. as he made the final circuit to the checkered flag, which removes significant pressure from the team as they now set their sights on performing at the best at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
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