RICHMOND, Va — Martin Truex, Jr. is finally a short track winner.
Truex, Jr. led the final 79 laps and held off a late charge by Joey Logano and Clint Bowyer to claim his first career victory at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night in the Toyota Owners 400.
“I was struggling the last 40 laps,” Truex, Jr. said post-race. “I had no front turn. I was just real, real tight in that last run. You just had to hold them off. Being out front was important tonight.”
Kevin Harvick started on the pole position and led the first 30 laps before Kyle Busch took over command.
The competition caution flag flew as they completed lap 40 due to the rain that fell since the conclusion of the NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
On the restart, Busch ran away from the field, taking the Stage 1 victory at lap 100.
Busch continued his lead into Stage 2 until the next caution period, where during pit stops, he was too fast on pit road.
Truex, Jr. assumed the lead on the restart, and looked to be on his way toward a Stage 2 victory.
Logano had other plans, as he took the lead for the first time with six laps to go in the stage, just in time to take the green-checkered flag and the playoff point for Stage 2.
Logano maintained the lead until the next caution flag, where Truex, Jr. was able to reclaim the lead with a faster pit stop.
Brad Keselowski joined the fight at lap 266, but fell off before the final round of stops. Truex, Jr. resumed leading at lap 294.
Around 80 laps to go, pit stops began to cycle. Truex, Jr. pitted on lap 319, and Keselowski pitted three laps later.
The cycle of pit stops concluded with Truex, Jr. back out front with 79 laps to go.
The fight for the lead intensified with about 30 laps to go, with Bowyer and Logano in hot pursuit.
Bowyer was able to get alongside Truex, Jr. a handful of times, but was unable to complete the pass.
With three laps to go, Logano made his way around Bowyer for second, and the chase was on.
However, time was not on Logano’s side, as the laps quickly dwindled to zero. Truex, Jr. was able to hold on for his first career Richmond Raceway victory, his first win on a short track.
Kyle Busch rallied back after two miserable pit stops for an eighth place finish, and maintains his point lead over Joey Logano by 20 points.
Kyle Larson, who has DNF’d in two of the last three races, cut a tire on lap 129 and smacked the outside wall. The damage was too extensive for Larson to continue the race and he was relegated to a 37th-place finish, last.
The series takes a week off for Easter Sunday, and returns in two weeks at Talladega Superspeedway.
Martin Truex, Jr. has never won at a Superspeedway track.
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