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NASCAR Cup: Martin Truex Jr. wins again

No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota of Martin Truex Jr. (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota of Martin Truex Jr. (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Martin Truex Jr. claimed his series-leading sixth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win of the season and his second in the first four races of the 2017 playoffs Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., taking the checkered flag in the Bank of America 500 and beginning the second round of the playoffs the same way he began the first, with a win.

“It was tough out there today; the car was a handful,” Truex said. “Man, just thanks to my guys. We kept digging. The pit crew was flawless.”

Chase Elliott finished second for the second week in a row after getting by Denny Hamlin on an overtime restart.

“We needed to be a little better, I think, in the middle stage and not lose so much track position,” Elliott said. “That was where Martin came on and got his track position and we lost ours, and it was just hard to get all of it back, there, toward the end. It was a hard-fought day, and really, from where we were in those middle stages, I was proud of the way we fought back and were able to get back to the front. It’s frustrating to run like this. We’re definitely tired of running second, if we keep running like we are, hopefully, the opportunities will be there.”

Truex led a 91 laps, all coming after after cycling to the lead when a the race’s only cycle of green-flag stops completed with about 100 laps to go in the race that was scheduled for 334 laps. He led the final 57 laps.

“They got us track position, and we were able to keep it. Just a never give-up attitude with these guys,” Truex said “At this time of year, you want to click on all cylinders, and we just did everything right.”

Kyle Larson passed Kevin Harvick for second soon after the green cycle completed and, then, got off pit road ahead of Truex to take his first lead after a lap 266 caution. Truex, though, returned the favor, getting off pit road first during the next caution that came about 10 laps later for Kyle Busch.

Larson wound up 11th off pit road as a result of one of his crewmen falling down while servicing his car. It was Larson’s second problematic pit sequence, as he missed his pit box, necessitating a second trip down pit road during a lap-35 competition caution.

Larson finished 10th.

Harvick finished third after leading a race-high 149 laps and winning both of the 90-lap stages that made up the first 180 laps of the race.

“That’s about about where we were gonna run, second or third,” Harvick said. “We just kind of lost a little bit of the track there as the VHT started to wear off in the second half of the race.  But they did a great job all day.  For the most part, we had good stops all day – just the timing of the bad one came at the end, but, for the most part, they did a great job. Everybody in the field had a bad stop at some point today, so it was a good day for our Jimmy John’s/Busch Ford, and everybody is doing a good job with the speed of the cars.”

Hamlin finished fourth, and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top-five.

Harvick got up to second at the start of the race and ran second to pole sitter Hamlin until a competition caution on lap 35, and then, Harvick ran second to Elliott after Elliott took the lead on the restart. Harvick took his first lead on lap 52 restart after a crash involving Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer.

Harvick continued to run up front through the remainder of the first 90-lap stage and then, led throughout the second stage after retaking a lead lost to Kyle Busch on a restart at the beginning of the stage.

After losing his lead to Harvick, Busch struggled throughout the remainder of the race. He hit the wall, first, on lap 136 and continued to struggle throughout the remainder of the race, hitting the wall several more times on laps 220, 279 and 326.

As a result of the damage to his car, Busch endured fumes throughout the closing laps and requested oxygen after the race. When he was able to climb from his car after the checkered flag, he lied down in a patch of artificial turn in the track’s infield and received medical assistance.

Meanwhile, Harvick continued to lead until Truex took over in the final 100 laps.

Finishing sixth through 10th were Daniel Suarez, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney, Kasey Kahne and Larson.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer).

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Posted by on October 8, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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