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Truex Posts Overtime Cup Victory In Kentucky

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 9 2017

Martin Truex Jr. drove out to big leads at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday but had to go extra laps to get the victory. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Andrew Coppley)

RacinToday.com

Martin Truex Jr. drove to an overtime victory in Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

The victory is the Furniture Row Racing driver’s third of the season and it ties him with seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson for most in the series in 2017.

Kyle Larson finished second and Chase Elliott third in the scheduled 400-miler at the 1.5-mile Kentucky oval.

In the end, it took a gamble for Truex to get the win.

With just over a lap to go, Truex held a lead of more than 15 seconds over Larson.

But before Truex could take the white flag signaling the final lap, the engine in Kurt Busch’s Ford let go. Under the ensuing caution, only Truex stayed out, with all other lead-lap cars coming to pit road for fresh tires.

“I thought we were dead,” Truex said. “I thought we were done.”

The older tires didn’t matter as Truex kept his lead on the restart, held it through the first two corners and was out front when a wreck behind him froze the field and ended the race.

The victory completed a perfect night for Truex, who won the first and second stages and then took the checkered flag. The win was Truex’s third of the season, his first at Kentucky and the 10th of his career. Truex increased his series-leading playoff point total to 28, 12 more than that of second-place Jimmie Johnson.

“It’s just… this is completely unbelievable,” Truex said. “I’m so excited to win here. It felt like we had a shot last year and it got away from us on fuel mileage and just wanted to win here so, so bad after that. This is sweet redemption.”

Larson started the race in 40th because his car failed to pass inspection before qualifying. In the first 80-lap stage, he charged forward to the third position but sped on pit road during caution between stages and restarted at the rear of the field on Lap 88.

Again he charged through the field, and when the cars lined up for the final restart in overtime, Larson took advantage of four new tires to grab second place. Even on new rubber, he had nothing for Truex, who led a race-high 152 laps.

“I don’t know what we could have done to beat him,” said Larson, who retained a one-point lead over Truex in the championship standings. “He was obviously pretty fast with the lead there. It would have been fun to get to race him because I felt like I had the second-best car today; and it would have been interesting to get a restart with him earlier and get to hang with him that last run there.

“But we brought the Target Chevy home second after not being able to qualify and having to start last in the race and then having my speeding penalty there. I guess I was just a little too fast leaving my stall and got a penalty. So I’ve got to clean that stuff up. I’m mad at myself that I made that mistake. I don’t really know if it affected the outcome, but you never know.”

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts

Kentucky Speedway

Sparta, Kentucky

Saturday, July 8, 2017

  1. (2) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 274.
  2. (40) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 274.
  3. (12) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 274.
  4. (5) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 274.
  5. (1) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 274.
  6. (14) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 274.
  7. (4) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 274.
  8. (11) Joey Logano, Ford, 274.
  9. (7) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 274.
  10. (6) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 273.
  11. (17) Darrell Wallace Jr.(i), Ford, 273.
  12. (13) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 273.
  13. (16) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 273.
  14. (18) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 273.
  15. (20) Danica Patrick, Ford, 273.
  16. (22) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 273.
  17. (3) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 273.
  18. (9) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 273.
  19. (25) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 272.
  20. (28) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 272.
  21. (24) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 272.
  22. (29) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 272.
  23. (21) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 271.
  24. (26) David Ragan, Ford, 270.
  25. (30) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 270.
  26. (35) Landon Cassill, Ford, 268.
  27. (31) * Ryan Sieg(i), Toyota, 266.
  28. (33) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 265.
  29. (36) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 265.
  30. (15) Kurt Busch, Ford, Engine, 264.
  31. (38) * Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, 261.
  32. (37) * BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, 260.
  33. (27) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 253.
  34. (32) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, Engine, 212.
  35. (39) * Gray Gaulding #, Toyota, 207.
  36. (34) Joey Gase(i), Toyota, Accident, 129.
  37. (19) Trevor Bayne, Ford, Accident, 101.
  38. (23) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, Accident, 93.
  39. (10) Brad Keselowski, Ford, Accident, 89.
  40. (8) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, Accident, 87.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  138.604 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 57 Mins, 55 Secs. Margin of Victory:  Caution.

Caution Flags:  9 for 39 laps.

Lead Changes:  9 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   Kyle Busch 1-28; M. Truex Jr. 29; Kyle Busch 30-67; M. Truex Jr. 68-87; Kyle Busch 88-133; M. Truex Jr. 134-163; J. Logano 164-170; M. Truex Jr. 171-225; D. Earnhardt Jr. 226-228; M. Truex Jr. 229-274.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  M. Truex Jr. 5 times for 152 laps; Kyle Busch 3 times for 112 laps; J. Logano 1 time for 7 laps; D. Earnhardt Jr. 1 time for 3 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 78,18,42,4,1,20,11,77,48,24

Stage #2 Top Ten: 78,18,20,4,77,1,41,11,14,24

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 9 2017
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