Truex Jr. IRP MVP
August 6, 2005 | 9:14 P.M. EST
Truex, Jr. survived a green-white-checkered finish to hold off Clint Bowyer for the win in the 24th annual running of the Kroger 200 before a capacity crowd.
Tyler Walker’s crash in the fourth turn wall set-up the final overtime dash to the checkered flag. But Truex, Jr. got a great jump when the green flag flew and easily drove to his 12th career Busch Series victory.
Truex, Jr. has now won three of the last six series races and the defending Busch Series champion leads Bowyer by 85 points in the standings.
The race was stopped for more than an hour on lap 59 when a rain shower hit the speedway. The red flag period, which was official one hour and thirty five minutes, and changing weather conditions wound-up playing a big part in the outcome of the race. Bowyer’s car was totally different after the delay and the rookie had to struggle to get a second place finish.
“It totally changed my program,” Bowyer said. “My car wasn’t the same as it was before the rain hit and we couldn’t do anything to chase Martin down.”
Truex, Jr. moved around Ashton Lewis, Jr. on lap 111 and kept his Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet in front the rest of the way for his second career Top 5 finish in three starts at IRP.
"Clint was real strong earlier in the race. I really, really didn't think we would have anything for him," Truex said. "I was just trying to take care of it for a long time."
Reed Sorenson followed Truex, Jr. and Bowyer across the finish line with Jason Keller and David Stremme rounding out the Top 5.
Denny Hamlin, Paul Menard, David Green, Johnny Sauter and Mike Wallace completed the first ten finishers.
Tony Stewart, who will start 22nd in Sunday's "Allstate 400 at the Brickyard" at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, suffered through a long night at IRP. He started 17th and endured a black flag for loose lugnuts during a pit stop as well as a pair of spins to wind up finishing in the same spot he started.
Sorenson maintains the third spot in the standings and trails Truex, Jr. by 104 points. Carl Edwards, who was caught up in a late race accident, is fourth with Kenny Wallace rounding out the Top 5.
The Busch Series now travels to Watkins Glen International Raceway next Saturday afternoon.