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Truex Jr. Captures Kansas As Playoffs March On

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, October 22 2017

Martin Truex Jr. paid another visit to Victory Lane at Kansas on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Ashley R Dickerson)

Martin Truex’s dominating weekend at Kansas Speedway was extended well into Sunday after noon as the Furniture Row Racing driver won from the pole at the 1.5-mile oval.

Truex led 91 of 267 laps in earning his seventh victory of the season in a race that featured some significant wrecks.

So good was his FRR Toyota that Truex was able to come back from a restart-violation penalty and an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel to notch a season sweep of both events at Kansas, sealing the 14th win of his career in NASCAR’s premier series.

“Just couldn’t believe some of the things that were happening and thought there was no way that we were going to win that race at some point,” Truex said. “That first restart violation really caught me by surprise and that hurt, but that wasn’t the last blow we had to take. There was the loose wheel we had to pit for under green and getting a lap down and being able to stay out through that last stage and get that lap back was crucial, without that, we didn’t have a shot. Then we got back mid-pack and had a couple really good restarts to get some track position and then really fought the car through that part of the race and had to make some big adjustments and I felt like at the end we got dialed in pretty good. I’m pretty happy with that.”

Kurt Busch finished second, 2.2 seconds back. But he was left to wonder what the heck is up with the Busch family and Kansas Speedway.

“I just feel like I’m on razorblades here,” the Stewart-Haas Racing driver said. “I really wanted that one bad. At the end, I had the sticker tires. As I’m warming them up they weren’t grabbing in the back. I knew that I wasn’t going to get the jump that I needed. I tried to play middle of the ground. Early in the race with scuffs from qualifying I brushed the fence.

Kansas; I don’t know what it is about this place. Kyle (Busch) struggles here too. I feel like I’m on pins and needles most of the day. (Tony) Gibson always throws nice adjustments at it and the race comes to us and we’re right there. We had a shot at winning. I just feel like I’m pushing too hard early on. I saw (Jimmie) Johnson spin. We saw the 77 spin. All the drivers asked for less downforce and yet never got the softer tire that we hoped for. But we’re right there. When we get it right we’re right there. It just feels like I have to overdrive. When you’re overdriving you’re not going to make it work.”

The Kansas race was the final event of the round of 12 in the Playoffs and four drivers were knocked from championship contention based on their efforts in the three-race round.

Only Truex and Brad Keselowski had automatic berths into the Round of 8 based on their wins at Charlotte (Truex) and Talladega (Keselowski) earlier in the round.

Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson joined Truex and Keselowski among the qualifiers for berths in the Round of 8, which begins next Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.

Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were eliminated.

It was a 13-car pileup on Lap 197 ended the day for both Kenseth and McMurray. Kenseth was able to drive away, but his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 crew was penalized for having too many men over the pit wall while his car was on the crash clock. He wound up 37th, with McMurray — who also wrecked last week at Talladega — in 34rd.

“I don’t know a lot about it,” Kenseth said of the rule that led to the penalty. “Honestly, I’ve never heard of disqualifying somebody from a race if you got one too many guys over the wall or whatever happened there. I don’t really know. I really don’t have a lot of good things to say at the moment, so I’ll probably try not to say much. Pretty disappointing way to end. Can’t even go back on the race track because of the error we made. It’s just – couldn’t be any more disappointed.”

(This story will be updated shortly)

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – Hollywood Casino 400

Kansas Speedway

Kansas City, Kansas

Sunday, October 22, 2017

  1. (1) Martin Truex Jr. (P), Toyota, 267.
  2. (15) Kurt Busch, Ford, 267.
  3. (40) Ryan Blaney (P), Ford, 267.
  4. (14) Chase Elliott (P), Chevrolet, 267.
  5. (4) Denny Hamlin (P), Toyota, 267.
  6. (20) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 267.
  7. (19) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 267.
  8. (2) Kevin Harvick (P), Ford, 267.
  9. (25) Aric Almirola, Ford, 267.
  10. (7) Kyle Busch (P), Toyota, 267.
  11. (12) Jimmie Johnson (P), Chevrolet, 267.
  12. (23) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 267.
  13. (10) Brad Keselowski (P), Ford, 267.
  14. (11) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 267.
  15. (21) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 267.
  16. (29) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 267.
  17. (27) David Ragan, Ford, 267.
  18. (16) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 267.
  19. (9) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 267.
  20. (28) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 267.
  21. (17) Joey Logano, Ford, 267.
  22. (30) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 267.
  23. (31) Landon Cassill, Ford, 265.
  24. (35) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 263.
  25. (37) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 263.
  26. (38) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 261.
  27. (34) Corey LaJoie #, Toyota, 261.
  28. (33) * Gray Gaulding #, Toyota, 259.
  29. (24) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (P), Ford, Accident, 256.
  30. (36) * BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, 254.
  31. (32) * Brett Moffitt(i), Toyota, 238.
  32. (26) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, Accident, 232.
  33. (18) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, Accident, 203.
  34. (8) Jamie McMurray (P), Chevrolet, Accident, 198.
  35. (6) Erik Jones #, Toyota, Accident, 197.
  36. (5) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, Accident, 197.
  37. (3) Matt Kenseth (P), Toyota, Accident, 197.
  38. (22) Danica Patrick, Ford, Accident, 197.
  39. (13) Kyle Larson (P), Chevrolet, Engine, 73.
  40. (39) * Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, Handling, 35.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  125.189 mph.

Time of Race:  03 Hrs, 11 Mins, 57 Secs. Margin of Victory:  2.284 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  10 for 49 laps.

Lead Changes:  14 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   M. Truex Jr. (P) 1-34; K. Busch (P) 35-47; B. Keselowski (P) 48-50; R. Blaney (P) 51-53; K. Busch (P) 54-81; K. Harvick (P) 82; K. Busch (P) 83-128; J. McMurray (P) 129; B. Keselowski (P) 130-144; K. Busch (P) 145-156; K. Harvick (P) 157; D. Hamlin (P) 158-162; K. Harvick (P) 163-197; K. Busch (P) 198-210; M. Truex Jr. (P) 211-267.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  K. Busch (P) 5 times for 112 laps; M. Truex Jr. (P) 2 times for 91 laps; K. Harvick (P) 3 times for 37 laps; B. Keselowski (P) 2 times for 18 laps; D. Hamlin (P) 1 time for 5 laps; R. Blaney (P) 1 time for 3 laps; J. McMurray (P) 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 18,4,11,21,1,48,24,78,20,77

Stage #2 Top Ten: 11,4,2,20,18,77,1,21,24,48

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The following drivers advanced to the Round of 8. This list will be updated with official seedings and point totals shortly.

1. Martin Truex Jr., 4,069 points
2. Kyle Busch, 4,042 points
3. Brad Keselowski, 4,026 points
4. Kevin Harvick, 4,017 points
5. Jimmie Johnson, 4,017 points
6. Denny Hamlin, 4,014 points
7. Ryan Blaney, 4,009 points
8. Chase Elliott, 4,006 points

WHO’S OUT: Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jamie McMurray

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, October 22 2017
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