Truex Jr. Wins Southern 500
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on September 4, 2016 | 10:28 P.M. EST
Truex became the ninth driver to win the Coca-Cola 600 and Southern 500 in the same season. (Photo: Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr. captured another big win on the season when he took the checkered flag in Sunday's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Truex Jr., who also won this year's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, was able to outrun Kevin Harvick to the finish. It was the second Southern 500 victory for Furniture Row Racing, who won the race in 2011 with driver Regan Smith. It was Truex Jr.’s fifth career win.
"We've had a string of terrible bad luck lately," Truex said. "We've had super-fast race cars. ... I knew when the bad luck stopped coming, we would start racking them off. Tonight we weren't the best car, and we won for once. I just couldn't be more excited."
Harvick had several challenges on pit road tonight and was frustrated with having to mount a comeback.
“Yeah, we had a great car,” he said. “The guys in the garage and at the shop continue to do a great job, and we continue to give it away on pit road. Pretty much summed up the night. Just the dominant car and just three bad pit stops on pit road.”
Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano rounded out the top five.
Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott completed the first 10 finishers.
With one race left in the regular season, Jamie McMurray holds the final Chase transfer spot by seven points over Ryan Newman.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Richmond International Raceway next Saturday night for the
How Truex Jr. Won: He got the lead off pit road on a late race pit stop and was able to maintain the advantage over the final stages of the race including a final restart. While Harvick cut down his lead marginally in the last ten laps, Truex Jr. finally pulled away and went on to score the win.
Who Had a Good Day: Harvick was disappointed with second but it was a solid rebound from an earlier pit road mistake when an air gun jammed. He has finished second 23 times since joining Stewart-Haas Racing…Larson has finished in the top six in four of the last six races of 2016 and in the top-10 in all three of his Darlington starts…Hamlin finished in the top 10 in the last seven races of 2016, his longest streak of 2016.
Who Had a Bad Day: Trevor Bayne’s Chase hopes all but evaporated when spun and damaged his car with hard contact into the Turn 4 wall. The Roush Fenway Racing driver was credited with last place…Jimmie Johnson had a rough outing to be sure. First he was penalized when a crew member made an illegal body modification to his car during a pit stop. He fell two laps down but had worked his way back until he spun coming off Turn 4 and slid into the inside wall severely damaging his car….Brian Scott had an early race spin but things got worse later when he caught the wrath of Tony Stewart, who turned the Richard Petty Motorsports driver racing down the backstretch. Scott hit the inside wall hard and was out of the race…Greg Biffle’s Alan Kulwicki Hooters paint scheme was crumpled when he slammed the wall on lap 261…Stewart’s night ended later when he exited with a blown engine on lap 317...Stewart’s teammate Kurt Busch had an even more difficult night when he was involved in a hard crash after Paul Menard, who had a tire going down, made contact…With 18 laps to go, Aric Almirola had his race end with a violent trip into the Turn 3 wall when he got tangled up with Clint Bowyer.
What Else Happened: NASCAR used what turned out to be this year’s rules package in the 2015 edition of the Southern 500 so drivers and teams had somewhat of a feel on how cars would handle. It was a typical Darlington race in that the second half turned into a much more challenging run as track conditions made drivers have to wrestle the cars around the historic track, which led to tight racing and unfortunately for some contact with others as well as the wall.
Quotable: "He wrecked,” Tony Stewart when asked what happened in his incident with Brian Scott.
Noteable: The last driver before Truex Jr. to win the Coca-Cola 600 and Bojangles' Southern 500 in the same year was Carl Edwards last season…Kahne scored his best finish since coming home sixth at Pocono…The race took 3 hrs, 57 min and 57 sec – longest this season.
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