Photo by: Sarah Crabill
Martin Truex Jr. dominated Saturday night’s Quaker State 400, leading more than 150 laps and securing both Stage 1 and Stage 2 wins, before earning his third win of the season.
Truex held a 15 second lead on the final lap, but that diminished when the No. 41 of Kurt Busch blew an engine. The caution allowed the leaders to pit, but the No. 78 team elected not to.
“I thought we were dead,” Truex said. “I thought we were done.”
Truex could not be denied however, and with a push from Kyle Larson, he got by Kyle Busch and quickly extended his lead during the overtime finish.
“Fortunately (I was) able to hold them off. This thing was just so stout tonight. A good push from Larson (on the final restart) helped us a bunch.”
Larson finished second after starting in the rear of the field and overcoming a speeding penalty on Lap 88. Larson retains the series regular points standings lead, but only by one point over Truex.
A multi-car crash ended the day for seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson as well as and Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski, which also collected Clint Bowyer.
Keselowski’s car got loose right after the start of Stage 2 that also sent the No. 14 spinning and Johnson in the wall. Johnson ultimately didn’t have anywhere else to go and sustained heavy damage to his Lowe’s Chevrolet.
Chase Elliott earned his sixth top-5 this season with a finish of third, followed by Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.
Bubba Wallace earned a career best finish of 11th in his fourth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup start. Wallace has been substituting for the injured Aric Almirola, who is expected to return next weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The MENCS head to New Hampshire on Sunday, July 16, 2017 at 3 p.m ET on NBC Sports Network.