Truex Jr. Dominates at Kentucky

Martin Truex Jr.

"This is completely incredible. That was a whole lot of fun." (Photo: Getty Images)

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Race Results | Stage Points

Martin Truex Jr. turned in a dominating performance to win Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.
 
Truex Jr. swept the first two stages and nearly ran away from the field to win until a late caution sent the race into overtime. But he was still able to get the jump on the field when the race restarted and was ahead when caution flew again to end the race in overtime.
 
“This is completely incredible,” Truex Jr. said. “That was a whole lot of fun.”
 
Truex Jr. scored his third win of the season and has racked up 28 playoff points. All three of his wins this year have come on 1.5-mile tracks.
 
“You try to lap everybody you can, just so they don’t come back and beat you on tires at the end for some crazy strategy,” Truex Jr. said. “ For us tonight, the car was just so good. I got so worried that when that caution came out with two to go that we were going to be in trouble. I’m just glad I was able to hold on for these guys and everybody on this team that put so much effort into this and into what we do and gives me such awesome race cars to drive. Glad I could hold up my end of the deal and we’re going to celebrate a little bit here tonight.”
 
Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five. Busch's car had a missing lug nut on one wheel found in post race inspection. The penalty carries a $10,000 fine.
 
“The Target Chevy was good,” said Larson, who started from the rear of the field and was also penalized for speeding on pit road. “Truex though, never got to see him that last run he was upwards of 15 seconds ahead of us.  That was pretty crazy.  He has definitely been the fastest car all year.  So, got some work to do, but if we can keep chasing him, I think we can beat him.”
 
Erik Jones, Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney completed the first 10 finishers.
 
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway next Sunday afternoon.
 
How Truex Jr. Won: He led 152 laps and was the class of the field all night. But when Kurt Busch blew an engine just as Truex Jr. was to take the white flag, the race went into overtime. He decided not to pit for fresh tires and had to hold off the field on the ensuing restart, which he did getting the jump on Kyle Busch. When Matt Kenseth, Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon crashed in turn four it brought out caution again after Truex Jr. had passed the overtime line and he was the winner.
 
Who Had a Good Day: Elliott scored his best finish at Kentucky and has top-10 finishes in five of the last six races this season…Hamlin has finished fourth in three of the last four races in 2017…McMurray notched his 11th top-10 finish this season after only four at this point in 2016.
 
Who Had a Bad Day: There were several big name drivers that weren’t around at the finish of the race including Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson, who were involved in an accident right after the start of the second stage…Kasey Kahne was involved in an incident with Trevor Bayne and slammed the wall hard knocking him out of the race with major damage to his car.
 
What Else Happened: Truex Jr. had such a dominant car he was only challenged on restarts. He was able to fight off any challenges for the top spot when the green flags reappeared while other drivers used the opportunity to try and gain any position on the race track as passing under green flag conditions proved to be a difficult proposition.
 
Quotable: "Damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” Truex Jr.'s crew chief Cole Pearn on staying out rather than pitting for tires before the overtime restart.
 
Notable: Truex Jr. is the only driver to sweep all three stages in a race, a feat he has done twice this year at Las Vegas and Kentucky…Darrell Wallace Jr. scored his career best finish of 11th…Johnson finished 40th for only the second time in his career the last coming at Watkins Glen in 2016.

 

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