SPARTA, Ky. — Martin Truex Jr. put on a clinic in the Quaker State 400, leading the most laps and sweeping the stages, but had to out-duel the field in overtime to win for the third time this season at Kentucky Speedway.
Restarting in overtime, Kyle Larson shoved Truex out ahead of the field and a multi-car wreck in Turn 4 coming to the white flag ended the race under caution, rendering the victory to Truex.
It’s his 10th victory in 423 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career starts.
Larson finished runner-up, followed by Chase Elliott on the bottom step of the podium.
Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five.
Erik Jones, Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-10.
Busch led the field to the green flag at 7:49 p.m. He led the first 29 laps before Truex edged him out at the line on Lap 30. Busch regained it the following lap, but Truex drove him back down to take it and win the first stage.
Busch took back the lead on the ensuing Lap 88 restart exiting Turn 2. But as was the case in the first, Truex reeled him in, passed him on Lap 136 and won the second stage. Joey Logano broke up the Busch/Truex parade up front by bypassing pit road under the stage break and taking the race lead, only to lose it on Lap 171.
Truex then built himself up a 12-second lead, only surrendering the lead under a cycle of green flag stops with 43 laps to go, which he took back with 39 to go. Kurt Busch’s blown engine on the frontstretch with two to go brought out the race’s eighth caution, setting up the overtime finish.
Caution flew for the first time on Lap 31 as a scheduled competition caution due to rain that pelted the track the whole weekend. The second flew on Lap 81 for the end of the first stage. The third caution flew on Lap 88 for a three-car wreck in Turn 3 involving Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson. The fourth flew on Lap 95 for a two-car wreck in Turn 2 involving Kasey Kahne and Trevor Bayne. The fifth flew on Lap 112 when Bayne went spinning in Turn 4. The sixth flew on Lap 138 when Joey Gase hit the wall in Turn 2. The seventh flew for the end of the second stage.
NUTS & BOLTS
The race lasted two hours, 55 minutes and 57 seconds at an average speed of 138.604 mph. There were nine lead changes among four different drivers and nine cautions for 39 laps.
Larson leaves with a one-point lead over Truex.C1718_UNOFFRES