Truex makes late pass to complete season sweep at Kansas

by Tucker White On Sun, Oct. 22, 2017

Martin Truex Jr. celebrates victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Photo: Simon Scoggins/SpeedwayMedia.com

Martin Truex Jr. overcame an early restart violation to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 and complete the season sweep at Kansas Speedway.

Truex drove underneath Kyle Busch entering Turn 1 with 57 laps to go and drove on to his 14th career victory in 437 career starts.

“Just can’t say enough about all these guys on this Furniture Row/Bass Pro Toyota, just really proud of them. Definitely raced with heavy hearts today with the of Jim (Watson) last night. Want to say our condolences to his family and all his friends. He was a heck of a guy and a great working put a heck of a lot of speed in these Furniture Row Toyota’s.

“Glad we could get him on here today. Excited to get another one here at Kansas. This feels really awesome. It’s really Furniture Row’s home track. It just feels really good to finally get another one here. We got one in the spring after so many heartbreaks. And then today, it looked like it was going to happen and we just persevered.”

Kurt Busch finished second and Ryan Blaney rounded out the podium.

“I just feel like I’m on razorblades here,” Busch 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.”

“We started off in the back and was able to make some good ground early,” Blaney said. “We were able to run up through there and made good adjustments throughout the day which got us in a spot to be up toward the front towards the end and advance. It was a solid day for our team. We overcame a lot coming from the back and they should be proud of that.”

“It was a good race. We did a nice job coming form the back back and I thought we got our car pretty decent there in the second stage. Then there was a mixup with some strategy stuff and pit calls and it felt like we were kind of at the back part of that but we were able to recover and miss that wreck which was big for us. We ran strong enough all day that we should have been in with where we ran. I am really proud of my team for the effort and we will move on to the next round and Martinsville.”

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-10.

“It was a wild day for sure,” Elliott said. “We fought our balance all weekend. I know the result wasn’t terrible, but definitely feel like we could have been a lot better this weekend and just the way things worked out for us. But, our car got better as the day went along, we just didn’t have the balance on a very long run to go up and pass guys like you need to have. So, we will go to work and get this side of things ready for Texas.”

Chris Buescher, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-10.

RACE SUMMARY

Truex led the field to the green flag at 3:19 p.m. On the restart following the competition caution, he was black-flagged for going below the white line before crossing the start/finish line. This handed the lead to Kyle Busch, who led from there, until he pitted under the second caution of the race — which flew for Brett Moffitt slamming the Turn 1 wall — and the lead went to Brad Keselowski.

Back to green on Lap 52, Ryan Blaney got the superior start and took the lead. He was passed by Busch three laps later, who drove on to win the first stage.

He kept on leading, until he hit pit road under a cycle of green flag stops on Lap 128.

Following a two-lap stint in the lead by Jamie McMurray and 14 by Keselowski, the lead cycled back to Busch.

After Moffitt brought out the fifth caution on Lap 156, Busch ducked onto pit road and handed the lead to Denny Hamlin, who drove on to win the second stage.

Staying out to take the lead, Kevin Harvick led the field to the Lap 167 restart. Busch regained the lead prior to a multi-car wreck in Turn 2 following the Lap 198 restart, which forced a 10-minute and 10-second red flag and set up the run to the finish.

CAUTION SUMMATION

Caution flew for the first time on Lap 30, a scheduled competition caution, due to overnight rain. The second caution flew for Moffitt slamming the wall in Turn 1 on Lap 47. Kyle Larson’s engine giving way on the front stretch on Lap 77 brought out the third caution. The fourth caution flew when Moffitt slammed the wall a second time in Turn 2 on Lap 156. The fifth flew for the end of the second stage. The sixth caution flew when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. slammed the Turn 3 wall on Lap 175. Jimmie Johnson brought out the seventh caution when he spun out in Turn 4 and through the front stretch grass on Lap 188. He brought out the eighth caution when he spun out a second time in Turn 3. Caution flew on Lap 198 for a 14-car incident on the backstretch. Allmendinger brought out the 10th and final caution when he spun out and came to a halt in the grass with 32 to go.

NUTS & BOLTS

The race lasted three hours, 11 minutes and 57 seconds, at an average speed of 125.189 mph. There were 14 lead changes among seven different drivers and 10 cautions for 49 laps.

Truex leaves with a 27-point lead over Kyle Busch. Larson, McMurray, Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. fail to advance on in the Playoffs.

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