Truex Conquers Kansas

Martin Truex Jr.

Truex celebrates his ninth career win and his first at Kansas. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Martin Truex Jr. led the most laps for the third consecutive spring race at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night, but this time around he was able to win and take the checkered flag in the Go Bowling 400.

The Furniture Row Racing driver was ahead for a race-high 104 laps to score his second win of the season and ninth of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.

“These races are so hard to win, any of those restarts I could’ve gotten beat on,” Truex said after the several late race restarts of the night. “Something could have happened. You just never know.

“It felt like if I could get out front on those restarts I’d be fine. If I came out second or third after a lap or two, it took me a long time to get good enough to pass those guys. I knew I had to go, I knew I had to make it happen.”

Brad Keselowski finished second with Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.

“We caught a couple breaks there on those restarts and made the most of them,” Keselowski said.  “That was good. We had a really great Freightliner Elite Support Ford just kept getting caught in adversity there. We worked our way through it. It stinks we finished second and still lost points because we didn’t get those stage points. All in all we had a really fast Ford and have a lot to be proud of. We will move on to the next week.”

Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez, Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer and Trevor Bayne completed the first 10 finishers.

Kyle Busch and Blaney won the first two stages.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for next Saturday night’s All-Star Race.

How Truex Jr. Won: Late race restarts punctuated the final laps of the race but none was more important than the final one with two laps to go. Truex Jr. was able to get the jump on the field when the green flag flew and slide ahead of Blaney before pulling away through the first and second turns. From there, Truex Jr. raced away from the field and comfortably took the checkered flag for the second win of the season.

Who Had a Good Night: Harvick matched his best finish of the season set at Bristol in third and has finished top-three in six of the last eight Kansas races…Blaney. who led 83 laps from the pole, had his best finish at Kansas in his fifth start and has finished top 10 in three of the five (Read More)…Kyle Busch has finished in the top-five in five straight Kansas starts.

Who Had a Bad Night: Danica Patrick, Joey Logano and Aric Almirola were involved in a violent crash on lap 199. Logano and Patrick made contact and both slide into the outside wall just past the second turn before Almirola slammed into Logano’s car with a fiery impact. The accident created a 27-minute red flag while safety crews cut through the roof of Almirola’s car to extract him before he was airlifted to a local hospital for further evaluation. Almirola dropped his window net and was alert after the accident (Read More). Logano and Patrick were not injured in the accident…Ryan Newman made an early exit on lap 154 with an oil pump failure.

What Else Happened: Restarts were the main ingredient to spice up the night. Three and sometimes four-wide racing was the result when the field came back to the green flag and since passing was at a premium throughout the 400-mile race, drivers had to get what they could in terms of track position on restart opportunities.

Quotable:
“All those restarts didn’t line up for us,” Kevin Harvick on the final flurry of restarts to end the race.

Notable: Truex Jr. has won four of the last 11 races on 1.5-mile tracks…Suarez tied his best career finish for the third time in seventh…Michael McDowell’s 13th-place performance was his second best career 1.5-mile track finish and it came from the 35th starting position.

 

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