By Dominic Aragon
LAS VEGAS — Martin Truex Jr. picked up his 24th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory Sunday (September 15) in the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Truex netted his fifth win of the 2019 season, the most among the Cup Series competition, by leading the final 20 laps of the 267-lap race.
“The 4 was really strong, but we took a gamble to have extra downforce and qualify 24th and it paid off tonight,” Truex said.
With the win, Truex is in sole possession of 34th all-time on the series’ wins list, breaking a tie with active competitor Joey Logano.
The victory for Truex will guarantee the Joe Gibbs Racing driver a position in the next round of the playoffs.
Kevin Harvick finished runner-up, leading 47 laps.
“We had two solid stages and with the way that practice went for us, that was a miracle,” Harvick said.
“To be in contention with a chance to win the race with 25 laps to go says a lot about the guys working on this 4 car and everybody did a great job of making something out of what wasn’t very bright for us on Friday.”
Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five finishers.
Joey Logano, who led a race-high 105 laps and won Stage 1, finished ninth.
A lap-189 crash for Kurt Busch relegated the 2004-series champion to a 39th-place finish, last.
“We ended up four wide, got a fender rub and the day is done,” Busch said. “It just happens that fast.”
Ryan Newman (-6 points), Kurt Busch (-14), Clint Bowyer (-21) and Erik Jones (-25) are below the playoff cutline with two races before the playoff grid is reset.
The next points-awarding race for the Cup Series will be the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway, scheduled for Saturday, September 21.