Truex Dominates Cup Race at Kentucky for Third Win
SPARTA, KY – RIS – Martin Truex, Jr. continued to show that he is the class of the tracks 1.5 miles in length by dominating the Quaker State 400 NASAR Monster Energy Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway. It was his third win of the season.
Truex lapped all but the top eight cars in the running order and had a lead of more than 13 seconds on then-second-place runner Kyle Larson when Kurt Busch blew an engine and brought out the eighth and final caution of the race with three laps remaining of the 267-lap scheduled distance. As a result of the late-race caution, the event went into overtime.
Truex stayed out, but everyone behind him pitted. Kyle Busch started next to him on the front row with four new tires. Kyle Larson pushed Truex out in front of Busch on the final restart and took second for himself after racing from the back to the front twice throughout the race.
Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin also got by Busch to finish third and fourth. Busch wound up fifth, and after the race, his car was missing one of the mandatory 20 lug nuts.
After the race field passed the overtime line, Matt Kenseth, Austin Dillon, Daniel Suarez and others wrecked, and the yellow flag that waved because of the incident ended the race.
Larson then passed Truex, but the race-ending yellow flag had already been displayed.
After Truex and Busch ran first and second through most of the first 160 laps of the race, they wound up seventh and eighth to start the third stage of the race after a four-tire pit strategy. Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney stayed out to restart the third stage on the front row, while several other drivers pitted but took only two tires.
Truex got back up to the lead in a handful of laps, but Busch struggled to get back to the front. After a green-flag cycle of stops that spanned about 20 laps with just under 60 laps to go, Busch came out in second, but he was 11 seconds behind Truex. When Larson took second, he trailed Truex by 13 seconds.
Truex and Kyle Busch dominated the top-two positions in the running order in the first two stages that combined to make up the first 160 laps.
Truex claimed his series-leading 12th and 13th stage wins of the years by winning of the first two 80-lap stages. Kyle Busch was second in each stage after dominating early each time.
Kyle Busch started on the pole and led until Truex got by him on lap 67 en route to the stage-one win. But when the race restarted at the beginning of the second stage, Kyle Busch retook the lead. Truex took another late-stage lead from Kyle Busch, though, around lap 135.
Kyle Larson was third at the end of the first stage after starting in the back as a result of not making a qualifying attempt Friday when his car failed to get through pre-qualifying inspection. By the time the yellow flag waved for a competition caution on lap 30, he was in the top 20.
Larson took four tires during the caution as many cars in front of him took two. Larson continued his march toward the front, and with three laps remaining in the opening stage, he took third from Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Jamie McMurray.
Larson was in the back, again, though, to start stage two after a pit-road speeding penalty between stages. Hamlin also was assessed a speeding penalty after running in or near the top-five throughout the first 80 laps.
Larson drove back toward the front again, and was sixth by the time the yellow flag waved for Joey Gase on lap 136. He backslid several positions, though, on the restart that followed as he battled a possible electrical problem.
While the first stage ran incident free, the early laps of the second stage were marred by two separate multi-car incidents.
A three-car wreck forced the retirement of three-time Kentucky winner Brad Keselowski and three-time 2017 race winner Jimmie Johnson. Clint Bowyer's car also sustained damage, but he was able to continue. A few laps later, Kasey Kahne and Trevor Bayne wrecked. A Bayne spin several laps later resulted in another caution.
The 80-lap distance that made up each of the first two stages was a tall order for a tank of fuel, but with the high number of yellow-flag laps in stage two, especially early in the stage, race frontrunners were able to conserve enough fuel to stay out during each of the second-stage cautions and still get to the end of the stage.
Unofficial Race Results for the 7th Annual Quaker State 400 Presented By Advance Auto Parts - Kentucky Speedway
Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps, St1, St2, Pts, Tms, Laps, Playoff Pts, Status
1) 2, Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota, 274, 1, 1, 5, 152, 7, 60, Running
2) 40, Kyle Larson, No. 42 Target Chevrolet, 274, 3, , , , , 43, Running
3) 12, Chase Elliott, No. 24 NAPA Chevrolet, 274, 10, 10, , , , 36, Running
4) 5, Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota, 274, 7, 8, , , , 40, Running
5) 1, Kyle Busch, No. 18 Snickers Toyota, 274, 2, 2, 3, 112, , 50, Running
6) 14, Erik Jones #, No. 77 SiriusXM Toyota, 274, 8, 5, , , , 40, Running
7) 4, Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Cessna Chevrolet, 274, 5, 6, , , , 41, Running
8) 11, Joey Logano, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil/Autotrader Ford, 274, , , 1, 7, , 29, Running
9) 7, Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Busch Light Ford, 274, 4, 4, , , , 42, Running
10) 6, Ryan Blaney, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, 273, , , , , , 27, Running
11) 17, Darrell Wallace Jr.(i), No. 43 Smithfield Ford, 273, , , , , , 0, Running
12) 13, Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Nationwide Children's Hospital Chevrolet, 273, , , 1, 3, , 25, Running
13) 16, Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford, 273, , 9, , , , 26, Running
14) 18, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford, 273, , , , , , 23, Running
15) 20, Danica Patrick, No. 10 Nature's Bakery/Feeding America Ford, 273, , , , , , 22, Running
16) 22, Chris Buescher, No. 37 Breyers Chevrolet, 273, , , , , , 21, Running
17) 3, Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Circle K Toyota, 273, 6, 3, , , , 33, Running
18) 9, Daniel Suarez #, No. 19 ARRIS Toyota, 273, , , , , , 19, Running
19) 25, Austin Dillon, No. 3 DOW Chevrolet, 272, , , , , , 18, Running
20) 28, AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Kroger ClickList Chevrolet, 272, , , , , , 17, Running
21) 24, Paul Menard, No. 27 Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet, 272, , , , , , 16, Running
22) 29, Ryan Newman, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, 272, , , , , , 15, Running
23) 21, Michael McDowell, No. 95 WRL General Contractors Chevrolet, 271, , , , , , 14, Running
24) 26, David Ragan, No. 38 Brandeis/Komatsu Ford, 270, , , , , , 13, Running
25) 30, Matt DiBenedetto, No. 32 Corvetteparts.net/Anest Iwata Ford, 270, , , , , , 12, Running
26) 35, Landon Cassill, No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, 268, , , , , , 11, Running
27) 31, * Ryan Sieg(i), No. 83 JAS Expedited Trucking Toyota, 266, , , , , , 0, Running
28) 33, Reed Sorenson, No. 15 Losers Bar & Grill Chevrolet, 265, , , , , , 9, Running
29) 36, Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 33 hulu Chevrolet, 265, , , , , , 8, Running
30) 15, Kurt Busch, No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, 264, , 7, , , , 11, Engine
31) 38, * Timmy Hill(i), No. 66 Chevrolet, 261, , , , , , 0, Running
32) 37, * BJ McLeod(i), No. 51 Chevrolet, 260, , , , , , 0, Running
33) 27, Ty Dillon #, No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet, 253, , , , , , 4, Running
34) 32, Cole Whitt, No. 72 RTIC Coolers Chevrolet, 212, , , , , , 3, Engine
35) 39, * Gray Gaulding #, No. 55 #Checkit4Andretti Toyota, 207, , , , , , 2, Running
36) 34, Joey Gase(i), No. 23 Best Home Furnishings Toyota, 129, , , , , , 0, Accident
37) 19, Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Roush Performance Ford, 101, , , , , , 1, Accident
38) 23, Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Mountain Dew Chevrolet, 93, , , , , , 1, Accident
39) 10, Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, 89, , , , , , 1, Accident
40) 8, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, 87, 9, , , , , 3, Accident
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie, (*) non-charter team
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 57 Mins, 55 Secs.
Average Speed: 138.604 MPH
Margin of Victory: Caution
Race Comments: Martin Truex Jr. wins the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, his 10th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. Before the start of the event, the following car dropped to the rear of the field for the reason indicated: No. 31 (engine change).
Caution Flags: 9 for 39 laps: Laps: 32-35 (Competition caution ); 82-87 (Stage 1 Conclusion ); 89-92 (#2, 14, 48 Incident in Turn 3 ); 95-99 (#5 and 6 Incident in Turn 2 ); 113-116 (#6 Spin in Turn 4 ); 138-141 (#23 Incident in Turn 1 ); 162-166 (Stage 2 conclusion ); 267-272 (Fluid on the track from the #41 ); 274-274 (#3, 19, 20, 43 Incident on the backstretch [None]).
Lead Changes: 9 among 4 drivers: 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.
American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Kyle Busch, #18
Coors Light Pole Award: Kyle Busch, #18 190.282 mph
Ingersoll Rand Power Move: Denny Hamlin, #11 3 positions
Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race: Toyota Racing Development (TRD), #18
Mobil 1 Driver of the Race: Kyle Larson, #42
Moog Go the Extra Mile: Joey Logano, #22 crew chief Todd Gordon, -0.006 seconds
Sherwin-Williams Fastest Lap: Kyle Busch, #18
Sunoco Rookie of the Race: Erik Jones, #77
Ron Fleshman with John Davison
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.