The Final Word – The boy from New Jersey looked real comfortable in his Old Kentucky Home

by Ron Thornton On Mon, Jul. 10, 2017

Photo Credit: Simon Scoggins

Kentucky. I love Kentucky. It is the home of bourbon. It is where Daniel Boone killed himself a b’ar. It is where they run a pretty important horse derby every year. Of course, I pre-tape the thing to avoid the four hours of filler to get at the three minutes worth watching. I even once liked its Fried Chicken. Hell, I actually met Col. Sanders once, though I must say that I did not lick his fingers. Just saying.

It also hosts a NASCAR race. To be honest, that does not exactly rank up with those other things that create a soft spot in my heart for Kentucky. Maybe this year it might. I mean, without hope what do we have? With Linkin’ Bridge, you got one of the best renditions of the Star Spangled Banner I have heard all season. Amazing. At least we were off to a terrific start.

When the Chase arrives, Martin Truex Jr. will have a great start when they re-jig the points. Once again he claimed the opening two stages, and once again Kyle Busch was doing his bridesmaid routine, finishing second in both. To be honest, those two were all that mattered the initial 160 laps. They mattered even more than my brother Regan, and it was his damn birthday.

Jimmie Johnson did not matter on Saturday night. Brad Keselowski lost grip but found Johnson as the pair both ended the night in the second stage. Trevor Bayne became irrelevant when Kasey Kahne clipped him shortly after. Bayne remained on the track, only to soon crash completely out.

No one had anything for Truex, but Kurt Busch came up with an equalizer. As he went up in smoke with just two laps remaining, leaving the outcome in doubt as the caution forced this one into overtime. Everyone came in to pit, but one. The one they all were chasing throughout the evening.

It did not matter. No one but Truex would matter in the end as a caution came out late on the final lap to hand the honors over, but really that did not matter either. Nobody was going to catch the 37-year old New Jersey driver short of digging a Kentucky b’ar pit. Truex swept the stages, claimed his third win of the season, just one shy of his quartet from last year.

There was just one notable change on the ladder. Joey Logano fell to seven points back in the fight for the final Chase berth. The eighth place finisher might have been nine positions better, but Matt Kenseth had a 13-0 advantage in segment points.

It was a perfect night for Truex, while Rowdy picked up 50 points for his trouble, finishing fifth. Forty-plus evenings were enjoyed by the likes of Kyle Larson (2nd), Kevin Harvick (9th), Jamie McMurray (7th), Denny Hamlin (4th), and Erik Jones (6th).

For Johnson, Bayne, and Keselowski, well, did I mention that Kentucky was the home of bourbon?

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