RICHMOND, Va. – Martin Truex Jr. scored his first career short-track win on Saturday night when he took the checkered flag in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway.
Truex came into the night having combined to lead 675 laps at Richmond with no victory to show for it. Tonight he led 186 laps and held off charges by Joey Logano and Clint Bowyer to score his first win at the 0.75-mile track and the 20th of his career.
“Really excited to win here at Richmond,” Truex Jr. said. “I’ve always loved coming here and a short track win, everybody kept asking when it was going to happen. Tonight we didn’t have the best car, but we’ve lost a lot with the best one.
“We’re just really excited. Everybody at JGR is doing a great job, just a blessing to drive these cars and have a great team.”
Logano put on a furious charge in the final two laps to get around Logano but could not and ended up second.
“Just not close enough, ran out of time there,” Logano said. “I figured something out with about 10 laps to go to make up some speed and got a decent run off of 2 on the last lap and thought I could maybe get to the outside.
“When you’re frustrated with second, that’s a good sign of where your team is.”
Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.
Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman and Paul Menard completed the first 10 finishers.
Kyle Busch and Logano won the night’s first two stages. Stage Points
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series takes the Easter weekend off before returning to action on Sunday, April 28that Talladega Superspeedway.
How Truex Jr. Won: While the box score shows Truex Jr. led 186 laps, it was not an easy trip to Victory Lane. He had to hold off the charges of first Bowyer and then Logano in the closing laps. Logano pulled to Truex Jr.’s rear bumper on the final circuit and tried his best to find a way around but could not get by the JGR driver who prevailed for the victory.
Who Had a Good Day: Logano has finished top 10 in 11 of the last 12 races at Richmond…Bowyer had his fourth straight top-10 finish…Hamlin has finished in the top 10 in seven straight races…Newman tied for his best finish of the year.
Who Had a Bad Day: The miserable season for Kyle Larson continued Saturday night. He suffered a fender rub after contact on track that led to a cut tire and a trip into the wall…Michael McDowell was running 26th when he cut a tire and slammed the wall handing him his second DNF of the season…Kyle Busch led early but a pit road speeding penalty sent him to the rear of the field and he could not get back to the top spot.
What Else Happened: Long green flag runs have been the order of the day in recent Richmond races and it was no different Saturday night. It put more of a premium on pit road and minimizing mistakes, which did not happen for several drivers. The new rules package did have an impact on the handling of the cars and speeds as well as tire wear was up some from last year.
Quotable: “Just a lot of bad luck. It’s not been fun,” Kyle Larson.
Notables: Truex Jr. is the 52ndd river to win at Richmond…JGR’s 15th Richmond win ties Petty Enterprises for the all-time victory total at the track…Menard had his first top-10 finish at Richmond since 2013.