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NASCAR Cup: Martin Truex Jr. wins second-straight at Richmond

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA РSEPTEMBER 21: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, poses with the winner’s decal on his car in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway on September 21, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Martin Truex Jr. went two-for-two in the first two races of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs with his win Saturday night in the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. His latest win was his series-leading sixth of the year, his second-straight, and completed a year sweep of the two annual races at the track.

“That’s never happened to me in my whole racing career,” Truex said. “Thanks to all the fans who came out tonight, and thanks to everyone on this team, Bass Pro Shops; our Camry was really fast tonight. It takes a lot of people to make this happen. I felt pretty good coming into this race. We’ve had a lot of heartbreakers over the years in Richmond. To come here and sweep this year, it must have been meant to be. Thanks to all of our guys, Toyota, TRD, everybody who makes this happen, Auto Owners, all of our partners that let us do this, and everybody back at Joe Gibbs Racing building unbelievable race cars. Hopefully, we can keep this up. We came here to get bonus points and we sure as hell did it.”

His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch finished second after leading a race-high 202 laps of the 400 that made up the race, and a third Joe Gibbs Racing driver, Denny Hamlin, completed a JGR one-two-three finish.

“A great night for us,” team owner Joe Gibbs said. “I am really proud of these guys and the guys back at the shop. We have so many great people, and I wish they could all be here to celebrate. It was a great team effort by everybody, all four cars, just a thrill. This doesn’t happen very often. We are going enjoy it. The Lord blessed us with a great night.”

All four JGR drivers, also including Erik Jones, were first through fourth to take the checkered flag, but Jones’ car failed post-race inspection, resulting in a last-place finish.

Fellow-playoff drivers Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-five.

Busch, Truex and Keselowski were the only three drivers to lead laps. Truex led 109 and Keselowski 89. Truex took his final lead from Busch on lap 375 after overcoming a spin that resulted from contact from Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who had just taken new tires, on lap 316. Truex was leading at the time of the spin and was still in the third position after final pit stops during the resulting caution.

“I just tried to stay out of the fence and get it straightened out,” Truex said. “Luckily, we got a caution, and we ended up in a pretty good spot when we came off pit road. We had a pretty good lead, there, and we were able to take advantage of it. From there, we were just battling. Had to pass the 11 (Hamlin), had to pass the 18 (Busch). I knew it was going to be really tough to get by both of them. Both of them were strong all night long. Track position was important. I don’t know if the 18 fell off at that long run in the end, there, but we were to be a little bit better than them in the end and made the move.”

Truex and Busch were the stage winners at lap 100 and lap 200. Keselowski and Truex combined to lead the first 100 laps, with Keselowski starting on the pole and leading the first 53 laps before losing that lead to Truex on lap 54.

The JGR trio of Truex, Busch and Hamlin were all in the top-five at the end of the opening stage. Jones joined them inside the top-five when he passed Chase Elliott on lap 142. After Jones passed Kevin Harvick in the final 20 laps of the second stage. The Gibbs quartet of drivers were the top-four at the end of stage two.

Busch led 97 laps of the second stage and continued his lead into the 200-lap final stage, but Keselowski was first out of the pits during a lap-242 caution that was a result of Reed Sorenson hitting the wall.

Truex led more laps when he got by Keselowski for the lead on lap 282 and ran up front until his spin several laps later.

Three playoffs drivers — Kyle Larson, Harvick and Clint Bowyer — finished sixth through eighth. Daniel Suarez and Jimmie Johnson were the two highest-finishing, non-playoff drivers in ninth and 10th.

Joey Logano finished 11th after starting the race in the 28th position and going a lap down at two different points in the race. Other playoff drivers’ finishing orders included Elliott in 13th, Aric Almirola in 16th, Ryan Blaney in 17th, Kurt Busch in 18th, Alex Bowman in 23rd after an incident with Austin Dillon, and William Byron in 24th.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway:

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Posted by on September 22, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,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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