Kentucky Speedway

Martin Truex Jr. Dominates at Kentucky

mencs_ks_victorylane_07082017
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.

Brad Keselowski’s win at Kentucky comes down to fuel mileage

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts

Photo by: Matt Sullivan

Brad Keselowski held more than an eight second lead over Carl Edwards in the remaining laps of the Quaker State 400 Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.

That lead deteriorated as he went into fuel saving mode to make it to grab the checkers for his second win in two weeks.

“We knew the fuel mileage,” Keselowski said, “We went out and we set a really fast pace there on that restart and just using fuel, and then it became obvious that you were going to have to save fuel at the end, but I already used so much.”

The Penske driver did not have fuel to do a victory donut, needing a push to victory lane, but he made the distance that mattered to clinch his spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, where only 8 races remain before the start of the 2016 playoffs.

This was the first race at Kentucky Speedway since the repave and reconfiguration, causing top contention drivers like Hendrick Motorsports driver, Jimmie Johnson, and Joey Logano slamming into the walls and ending their day to compete for the win.

“As long as you weren’t around anybody, it was great.” Tony Stewart said after scoring a fifth place victory in his final start at the 1.5-mile track.

Keselowski, who now has three wins at Kentucky, reiterated the Stewart-Haas Racing’s statement.

“These cars were tough to drive today, but a good tough. This was a hard-fought battle, and I’m really proud of everybody on the 2 crew to get win number four and take that first place.”