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Truex Finally Seals A Deal At Kansas Speedway

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 14 2017

Martin Truex Jr. and his Colorado-based Furniture Row Racing team celebrate a “home” victory at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Ashley R Dickerson)

RacinToday.com

Martin Truex Jr. finally closed one out at Kansas Speedway.

Truex led a race-best 104 of 267 laps at the Kansas oval Saturday night, sped away from the field on a restart with two laps to go and went on to collect the ninth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of his career.

The victory was the Furniture Row Racing driver’s first at Kansas, a place where three times before he had led the most laps but never the final one.

After taking the checkered flag, Truex shouted “Finally” over his radio.

“It feels great,” Truex said after the win. “It’s definitely been a thorn in our side. That’s for sure. You know for years and years even, before I was with this (Furniture Row) team, for whatever reason we always ran good here and never could close the deal.

“Proud to get these guys back in victory lane. This is our home race track — the guys from Colorado. Appreciate all the fans. We got a lot of fans from Colorado here today. I met a bunch of them before the race and hopefully they’re all psyched.”

Brad Keselowski of Team Penske finished second – 1.1 seconds back.

Third was Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing.

The race featured a Kansas-record tying 15 cautions. Two of those came late in the race and featured flawless restarts by Truex.

There was also a red flag which came after a scary wreck featuring Joey Logano, Danica Patrick and Aric Almirola.

It came on Lap 200.

The cars of Logano and Patrick touched and sent both slamming into the outside wall. Patrick’s Stewart-Haas car erupted in flames. The two cars rode the outside wall until.

Suddenly, Almirola’s Richard Petty Motorsports car slammed into the mess. Patrick and Logano walked away from the wreck but safety workers swarmed over Almirola’s car in an effort to free him from the cockpit.

The roof was finally cut away and Almirola had a collar placed around hi neck, was removed and put on a backboard. He was taken to the infield care facility and then airlifted to a Kansas City hospital.

He spent the night at the University of Kansas Medical Center for observation. At 10:30 a.m. CDT on Sunday, Petty Motorsports released the following statement:

“Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, has been released from a local Kansas hospital and will fly back to his home in Mooresville, N.C. today. Almirola suffered a compression fracture to his T5 Vertebra after a multi-car accident at Kansas Speedway Saturday night.  Almirola is mobile and will follow-up with his doctors in Charlotte. Richard Petty Motorsports will provide further updates when available.”

“Yeah, I’m OK,” Logano said as he came out of the care center. “Just saying a lot of prayers for Aric right now. A lot of us took a hard hit. Something broke on my car. I don’t know what it was. I noticed it as I was trying to go in (to Turn 1). I tried to back it off but you’re going 215 (mph) and it’s hard to check up. The car just took a big step sideways into the corner and I hooked Danica.

“You can see the right front (tire) popped. I just hope everyone is OK. I hope Aric is all right. That’s the last thing you want to see, a big hit like that for anyone. It’s unfortunate for everyone. Let’s hope that Aric is all right.”

Patrick approached Logano and appeared to vent her frustration at him.

“We were having a really good race and having fun out there and had a lot of speed,” Patrick said. All I know is that I all of a sudden crashed. …

“When he said he had a failure, I can’t say it made me feel that much better in the moment. I’m just frustrated for the lack of breaks I get. It seems like every time things are going better and something happens, I get crashed or am in a crash.”

The race was red-flagged for 27 minutes, 41 seconds for track cleanup.

For the rest of the race Truex and Ryan Blaney in the No. 21 Wood Brothers car battled for the lead and the win.

It was Truex’s power on the late restarts that made the difference.

“When the pressure was on, when the money was on the line, we made the right moves, and everything worked out,” Truex said. “I knew if I didn’t come out of those restarts with the lead, I probably wasn’t going to win.”

Blaney finished fourth.

“I felt that we had a great short run car tonight, and I thought that was going to play right into our hands at the end,” said Blaney, who led 83 laps. “The 78 (Truex) got us on that restart somehow. I don’t know.

“I was super loose there on the last restarts, and the 78 (Truex) got me spinning my tires a little bit. It kind of stinks. I think that it says a lot about this team to go out and lead some laps and go have a shot at winning races.”

So Blaney ended up feeling like Truex has in the past in Kansas.

And Truex?

“Awesome day. Awesome weekend,” Truex said. “This team rocks, man, they’re so good. Cole (Pearn, crew chief) and the entire team here at the track and back at our shop in Denver. We just stuck with it all night. We had an awesome race car. There were times when we looked like we weren’t going to have a shot at it. We just kept fighting and made it happen.”

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – Go Bowling 400

Kansas Speedway

Kansas City, Kansas

Saturday, May 13, 2017

  1. (3) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 267.
  2. (17) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 267.
  3. (8) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 267.
  4. (1) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 267.
  5. (5) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 267.
  6. (9) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 267.
  7. (15) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 267.
  8. (12) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 267.
  9. (30) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 267.
  10. (16) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 267.
  11. (4) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 267.
  12. (14) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 267.
  13. (35) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 267.
  14. (22) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 267.
  15. (31) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 267.
  16. (11) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 267.
  17. (34) David Ragan, Ford, 267.
  18. (20) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 267.
  19. (6) Kurt Busch, Ford, 267.
  20. (33) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 267.
  21. (36) Landon Cassill, Ford, 267.
  22. (32) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 267.
  23. (7) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 267.
  24. (29) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 267.
  25. (37) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 267.
  26. (26) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 266.
  27. (38) * Corey LaJoie #, Toyota, 265.
  28. (39) * Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, 259.
  29. (10) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 258.
  30. (21) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 257.
  31. (40) *Carl Long(i), Chevrolet, 256.
  32. (23) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 243.
  33. (27) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 243.
  34. (25) Gray Gaulding #, Toyota, 231.
  35. (18) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, Accident, 202.
  36. (24) Danica Patrick, Ford, Accident, 199.
  37. (2) Joey Logano, Ford, Accident, 199.
  38. (13) Aric Almirola, Ford, Accident, 199.
  39. (28) * Derrike Cope, Toyota, Engine, 179.
  40. (19) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, Oil Pump, 154.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  117.64 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 24 Mins, 16 Secs. Margin of Victory:  1.100 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  15 for 61 laps.

Lead Changes:  21 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   R. Blaney 1-9; M. Truex Jr. 10-52; K. Harvick 53-62; Kyle Busch 63-82; M. Truex Jr. 83-99; Kyle Busch 100-138; R. Blaney 139; C. Bowyer 140-142; R. Blaney 143-163; Kurt Busch 164-166; R. Blaney 167-179; M. Truex Jr. 180-195; R. Blaney 196-198; M. Truex Jr. 199-204; R. Blaney 205-217; D. Earnhardt Jr. 218-219; T. Bayne 220; R. Blaney 221-242; M. Truex Jr. 243-245; E. Jones # 246-247; R. Blaney 248; M. Truex Jr. 249-267.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  M. Truex Jr. 6 times for 104 laps; R. Blaney 8 times for 83 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 59 laps; K. Harvick 1 time for 10 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 3 laps; C. Bowyer 1 time for 3 laps; D. Earnhardt Jr. 1 time for 2 laps; E. Jones # 1 time for 2 laps; T. Bayne 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 18,78,21,42,2,48,4,11,5,41

Stage #2 Top Ten: 21,42,78,1,18,11,5,20,77,22

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 14 2017
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