Martin Truex Jr. had about 40 laps to go and Clint Bowyer closing quick.
In a race to see who may protect their automobile greatest, Truex outlasted Bowyer after which held off a four-lap cost by Joey Logano to win the NASCAR Cup Collection race at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night time.
“I used to be struggling the final 40 laps,” Truex stated. “I had not entrance flip. I used to be simply actual, actual tight that final run. I simply needed to maintain him off. Being out entrance was necessary tonight.”
As a result of he did, Truex gave Joe Gibbs Racing its sixth victory in 9 races this season and received for the primary time in his profession on tracks shorter than a mile.
“On the finish of the day, we drove as much as him and also you get horrible tight behind folks,” Bowyer stated.
Truex led a race-high 186 laps and regained the lead for the final time after green-flag pit stops that began with simply greater than 80 laps to go. With about 40 to go, Bowyer challenged with what appeared like a quicker automobile, however Bowyer lastly relinquished the second spot to Logano, who additionally appeared to have the quicker automobile of the highest two.
Truex expertly navigated lapped visitors and by no means let him cross to win for the primary time in 81 begins within the Cup sequence on a brief observe. It is his 20th profession victory and 17th within the final 4 seasons.
“It means so much to lastly break by,” Truex stated in Victory Lane. “I hope it was a helluva present. It positive was enjoyable behind the wheel.”
Logano held on for second. Bowyer was third and Kevin Harvick fourth, giving Stewart-Haas Racing two top-four finishers. Native favourite Denny Hamlin was fifth.
“We had been shut, simply not shut sufficient,” Logano stated. “Ran out of time there. … Enjoyable race, simply gosh. Three weeks in a row I felt like we had a automobile that might win the race and we have not received. That is a bit irritating, however if you’re pissed off with second, that is a superb signal.”
The stage for the end was set when the leaderboard bought shuffled starting on Lap 318 when the vehicles operating up entrance started pitting underneath a inexperienced flag.
After they all had new tires and sufficient gas to complete, Truex was again in entrance, adopted by Bowyer, Logano, Harvick and Hamlin. Brad Keselowski dropped to eighth throughout the cycle and Kyle Busch, looking for his third victory in a row on the zero.75-mile, D-shaped oval, his fourth of the season and second in a row, fell again to 10th.
Joe Gibbs stated he cannot clarify his group’s dominant begin to the season, however he will get pleasure from it whereas it lasts.
“Typically in professional sports activities, , you get on a roll, issues go properly,” Gibbs stated. “I feel that is the explanation why you should get pleasure from it in professional sports activities as a result of , odds are, this ain’t going to maintain taking place.”
Eight vehicles failed prerace inspection, together with three that failed twice. They embody native favourite Denny Hamlin, a three-time winner on the zero.75-mile oval, Chase Elliott and Matt Tifft.
In consequence, NASCAR disqualified their qualifying speeds, sending them to the rear of the sector, disallowed their pit stall picks and ejected one engineer from every group for the race.
5 different groups failed inspection and had their qualifying speeds and pit picks disallowed, additionally sending them to the again. They had been seven-time sequence champion Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Joey Gase.
BAD LUCK LARSON
Kyle Larson’s sluggish begin to the season continued, giving him an early night time.
Contact with Daniel Hemric early within the second stage gave Larson a tire rub and when he bought again on top of things after stopping underneath inexperienced, the rub continued and he hit the Flip 1 wall on simply the 127th lap of the night time.
With the sequence off subsequent weekend for Easter, Larson is wanting ahead to the break.
“Been a crappy begin to the yr,” Larson stated. “We have had respectable pace. We did not have pace tonight however the weeks that we have pace we nonetheless run into points so I hate the begin to the season I’ve had however hopefully this break to the season got here at a superb time and we are able to regroup and attempt to come again higher with some higher luck.”
Larson has simply two top-10 finishes in 9 begins.
WHO’S HOT, WHO’S NOT
Kyle Busch completed eighth to push his top-10 streak to 11 races.
Chase Elliott began the night time 10th in factors, however ran 15th and has simply two top-10s this yr.
The sequence takes its conventional week off for Easter earlier than heading to Talladega Superspeedway in two weeks.