Martin Truex Jr. cruises to repeat victory at Kentucky Speedway

Martin Truex Jr. repeated his victory at Kentucky Speedway of a year ago in dominating fashion Saturday night.

Martin Truex Jr. cruises to repeat victory at Kentucky Speedway
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Auto-Owners Insurance and Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Freightliner
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Auto-Owners Insurance
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Auto-Owners Insurance and Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Freightliner
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Auto-Owners Insurance and Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Freightliner
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Auto-Owners Insurance
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Auto-Owners Insurance

Truex won the first two stages and easily held off Ryan Blaney to capture the win in the Quaker State 400, leading 174 of the 267 laps.

The win is Truex’s fourth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this season and 19th of his career. He becomes the third driver (Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch are the others) with at least four wins in the first 19 races of the 2018 season.

"What a hell of a night this was," Truex said. "That just shows you how hard it is. We made it look easy last year but it certainly wasn't. I just want to thank my guys for sticking with me. They have really been working hard trying to figure it out.

“It feels good, you know? You never know how these races are going to play out. You never know quite what is going to happen and we had such a strong Toyota tonight they weren’t going to beat us. You never know how they’re going to turn out, so we just keep our heads down.

"We don’t get too excited. We keep working on the race car and trying to stay calm and not get ahead of ourselves, so we had to make a lot of adjustments tonight on the car and had to battle back a from a few times getting passed for the lead and coming out of the pits second or third.

"So many people make this possible. I’m just the lucky guy who gets to drive them, so pretty exciting night for us and two in a row at a race track is pretty cool, so hell yeah.”

 

Brad Keselowski finished third, Kyle Busch fourth and Harvick completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, Aric Almirola, Kyle Larson and Joey Logano.

Following pit stops between Stages 2 and 3, Keselowski was first off pit road taking only two new tires. He led the way when Stage 3 went green on Lap 167, followed by Truex, Kyle Busch, Harvick and Blaney.

On Lap 169, Larson moved into third ahead of Harvick as Keselowski and Truex continued to lead the way.

On Lap 172, Larson got around Truex off Turn 4 to move into the second position and immediately began gaining ground on leader Keselowski.

Truex moved back around Larson and into the second position on Lap 182 as Keselowski’s lead continued to grow. “Tight on exit,” Larson told his team over the radio.

With 80 laps left in the race, Truex had cut his deficit to Keselowski to under a second and was closing fast.

Larson developed issues with his track bar and the problem forced him to drop back in the lineup. With 70 laps remaining, he had fallen to seventh. “Man, this sucks,” Larson said over his team radio.

Truex finally moved back into the lead with a pass of Keselowski off Turn 4 on Lap 201.

On Lap 207, it appeared J.J. Yeley blew the engine in his No. 23 Toyota in Turn 3 and came to a rest up again the wall to bring out a caution.

Kurt Busch took only two right-side tires and was the first off pit road. He led the way when the race returned to green on Lap 215, followed by Truex, Kyle Busch, Blaney and Harvick.

Ryan Newman was penalized for removing equipment from his pit stall during his stop and had to restart from the rear of the field.

Blaney moved up to third on Lap 215.

Truex moved to the inside of Kurt Busch and reclaimed the lead with 44 laps to go. Busch dropped back to third as Blaney moved up into the runner-up position.

With 30 to go, Truex held a 1.4 second lead over Blaney as Keselowski had moved into third. Kyle Busch was running fourth and Kurt Busch was fifth.

Truex had expanded his lead to 1.7 seconds over Blaney with 20 laps left in the race. Keselowski was third, over six seconds behind Truex.

With five laps to go, Truex held a commanding 2.3 second lead over Blaney.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeLaps LedRetirementPoints
1 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 267   174   60
2 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 267 1.901 1   50
3 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 267 8.446 38   34
4 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 267 8.879     50
5 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 267 11.715     48
6 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 267 12.543 45   35
7 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 267 12.662     32
8 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 267 13.417     31
9 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 267 17.260     37
10 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 267 18.677 5   30
11 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 267 18.920     33
12 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 267 19.608     35
13 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 267 20.398     25
14 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 267 20.842 3   23
15 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 267 21.401     26
16 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 267 21.902     21
17 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 267 25.983     20
18 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 267 27.850     19
19 6 united_states Matt Kenseth  Ford 267 28.084     18
20 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 267 29.142     17
21 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 267 29.778     16
22 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 266 1 lap     15
23 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 266 1 lap     14
24 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 266 1 lap     13
25 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 266 1 lap     12
26 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 266 1 lap     11
27 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 264 3 laps     10
28 15 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 263 4 laps      
29 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 263 4 laps     8
30 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 262 5 laps     7
31 72 united_states Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 260 7 laps     6
32 51 united_states B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 256 11 laps      
33 00 united_states Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 256 11 laps     4
34 66 united_states Timmy Hill  Toyota 254 13 laps      
35 07 united_states Jesse Little  Chevrolet 253 14 laps      
36 99 united_states Garrett Smithley  Chevrolet 251 16 laps      
37 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 200 67 laps   Vibration 1
38 23 united_states J.J. Yeley  Toyota 199 68 laps   Engine  
39 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 108 159 laps 1 Accident 1

 

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Martin Truex Jr. sweeps the first two stages at Kentucky

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