Truex Wins As Keselowski Fades Late In Vegas

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, March 12 2017

Martin Truex Jr. dominated in Las Vegas on Sunday but needed late trouble by Brad Keselowski to get the win. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Gregg Ellman)


Martin Truex Jr. came up big – and lucky – at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday as he won all three stages of the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race.

Truex, though he led the most laps (150), got the victory when Brad Keselowski lost power and fell out of the lead with two laps to go.

It was Truex’s eighth career victory and came by 1.4 seconds over Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing. Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports finished third.

“It was a gift,” Truex said of getting the win when Keselowski’s car sputtered.

“I felt like the race didn’t play into our hands. We had to go really long on that last set of tires and Brad was really good on long runs all day. He was alway catching us at the end (of the tires runs). I was driving my little but off and I couldn’t keep him behind me. We got a little bit lucky there (when Keselowski faltered).”

Keselowski said he lost brakes and his car wouldn’t turn.

“It broke and that’s how it goes,” he said. “Wish it was 265 laps (instead of 267) but it’s not.”

As Truex took his victory lap, Kyle Busch attacked Team Penske’s  Joey Logano in the pits. He wrestled on the ground with Logano crew members and when finally separated, had a bloody gash on his head.

There was contact on the track between the two late in the race and apparently Busch thought it was Logano’s fault.

“I got dumped. Flat out drove straight into the corner and wrecked me,” Busch said.

Logano disagreed.

“We crashed,” Logano said. “He came down on the entry on me to get underneath Brad and sent me for a heck of a ride on the entry and I was still trying to gather the thing up and just never got it.  I was still chasing it up the race track.”

And then it was swing time.

“There wasn’t much talking, there was a lot of swinging,” Logano said. “I don’t know.  I was racing hard there at the end with our Pennzoil Ford.  Kyle and I usually race really well together.  We usually never have any issues, and he tried to pin me down into the corner underneath Brad and we about crashed on entry, and then I was still trying to gather it up by the center and I was gonna spin out, so I’m trying to chase it up and he was there.  It obviously wasn’t anything intentional, but obviously he thinks that, so, I don’t know, we’ll get by.”

Back to racing. Truex looked unbeatable for most of the final stage.

But Jimmie Johnson took the lead when he stayed out when the rest of the field began pitting under green for the final time of the day. That put him almost 30 seconds ahead of Truex, who was leading before the pit stops began.

Truex, who had a big lead before pitting, took the lead back when Johnson pitted with 40 laps to go. Behind him by 1.4 seconds, was Elliott. A half second behind Elliott was Keselowski.

Keselowski disposed of Elliott and then, with 24 laps to go, he blew past Truex Jr. and into the lead. Keselowski built the lead to 1.0 seconds, but with 16 laps to go, Danica Patrick’s engine blew and that brought out the sixth caution of the day.

Truex inched ahead at the green, which came with 10 laps to go, but Keselowski quickly jumped back to the front and into the clean air.

With two laps to go, Keselowski slowed and Truex moved back to the lead and then to Victory Lane.

“It’s frustrating,” Keselowski said, “but you put yourself in position to win and good things will happen.  That happened to us last week and didn’t happen this week, so you just pick up the pieces and move on.  Luckily, they’re really big pieces.  We’ve got a lot to be proud of.”


Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – Kobalt 400

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada

Sunday, March 12, 2017

  1. (2) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 267.
  2. (5) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 267.
  3. (12) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 267.
  4. (6) Joey Logano, Ford, 267.
  5. (1) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 267.
  6. (15) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 267.
  7. (3) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 267.
  8. (10) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 267.
  9. (4) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 267.
  10. (13) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 267.
  11. (16) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 267.
  12. (7) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 267.
  13. (20) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 267.
  14. (30) Aric Almirola, Ford, 267.
  15. (8) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 267.
  16. (18) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 267.
  17. (21) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 267.
  18. (26) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 267.
  19. (14) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 267.
  20. (11) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 267.
  21. (24) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 267.
  22. (9) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 267.
  23. (25) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 266.
  24. (23) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 266.
  25. (22) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 266.
  26. (31) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 265.
  27. (27) Landon Cassill, Ford, 264.
  28. (33) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 264.
  29. (32) David Ragan, Ford, 264.
  30. (17) Kurt Busch, Ford, 263.
  31. (37) Reed Sorenson, Toyota, 262.
  32. (36) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 261.
  33. (29) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 261.
  34. (35) Gray Gaulding #, Toyota, 260.
  35. (38) * Derrike Cope #, Chevrolet, 254.
  36. (28) Danica Patrick, Ford, Engine, 246.
  37. (39) * Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, Suspension, 135.
  38. (19) Kevin Harvick, Ford, Accident, 68.
  39. (34) * Corey LaJoie #, Toyota, Accident, 16.


Average Speed of Race Winner:  136.032 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 56 Mins, 39 Secs. Margin of Victory:  1.495 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  6 for 34 laps.

Lead Changes:  14 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   B. Keselowski 1-19; M. Truex Jr. 20-24; B. Keselowski 25-70; J. Logano 71-75; M. Truex Jr. 76-124; B. Keselowski 125-126; T. Dillon # 127-128; M. McDowell 129-130; M. Truex Jr. 131-153; J. Johnson 154-156; M. Truex Jr. 157-211; J. Johnson 212-227; M. Truex Jr. 228-243; B. Keselowski 244-265; M. Truex Jr. 266-267.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  M. Truex Jr. 6 times for 150 laps; B. Keselowski 4 times for 89 laps; J. Johnson 2 times for 19 laps; J. Logano 1 time for 5 laps; T. Dillon # 1 time for 2 laps; M. McDowell 1 time for 2 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 78,42,21,2,24,1,48,18,20,88

Stage #2 Top Ten: 78,2,42,24,22,21,88,1,31,48




| , RacinToday.com Sunday, March 12 2017
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