Richmond NASCAR: Martin Truex Jr wins despite being sent spinning

NASCAR

Martin Truex Jr survived a spin to win the 2019 NASCAR Cup season’s second race at Richmond, taking his second victory in a row and his sixth this year.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver, who also won the track’s April Cup round, was tagged by Ricky Stenhouse Jr in the final stage and sent spinning, but only dropped from first to third.

Stenhouse was a lap down at the time after making a green flag pitstop, and locked his brakes and made contract with Truex.

The erstwhile leader quickly recovered and then had a tense battle with team-mate Kyle Busch towards the end of the stage, but lapped traffic aided Truex in building a gap.

In a race dominated by Toyota’s top team, JGR cars locked out the top four finishing positions and won every stage – Truex claiming the first stage and Busch the second, making this the first race at Richmond that a stage winner has gone on to win since the format was introduced.

JGR cars led 310 laps out of 400, with the only other driver to spend time at the front being Penske’s Brad Keselowski.

The polesitter led 54 laps at the start of the race, and returned to lead another 36 circuits in the final stage after returning to the fore during a post-caution pitstop.

Having failed to stick with Truex as the pair navigated traffic Busch finished in second, 2.6 seconds adrift, while Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones completed Gibbs’ top-four lockout.

After his strong early run, Keselowski finished in fifth, ahead of Ryan Newman – who secured his second-best result of the season with sixth.

The Roush Fenway driver ran as high as third during the third stage but couldn’t compete with the dominant Toyotas.

Kyle Larson was seventh, ahead of Kevin Harvick. Although he started from the front row of the grid, Stewart-Haas driver Harvick only featured at the very front of the field in the opening few laps but did remain in the top 10 all night.

Clint Bowyer finished behind his SHR team-mate in ninth, while Daniel Suarez in a third SHR entry completed the top 10 and was the highest-place non-playoff driver.

While he didn’t claim a top-10 finish, Joey Logano was the final playoff driver on the lead lap in 12th. Chase Elliott was the first post-season driver a lap down in 14th.

Among the other playoff contenders, Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney and Kurt Busch filled 17th to 19th positions, while Hendrick pairing Alex Bowman and William Byron were 24th and 25th respectively in what was a difficult evening for the multi-championship-winning team.

Other than stage ending cautions, there was only three yellow flag periods – one for Bowman spinning following a retaliatory push from Austin Dillion, another for backmarker Reed Sorensen making contact with the wall amid brake problems and the last for Truex’s spin.

Following the second playoff race at Richmond, Kyle Busch and Harvick have secured their place in the ’round of eight’, regardless of what happens at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ‘Roval’ next weekend, while Truex’s place in the next round had already been secured with his win at Las Vegas last week.

Bowman, Jones, Bowyer and Kurt Busch are the drivers currently on course to be eliminated after the next race.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps
1 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 400
2 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 400
3 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 400
4 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 400
5 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 400
6 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 400
7 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 400
8 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 400
9 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 400
10 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 400
11 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 400
12 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 400
13 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 400
14 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 399
15 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota 399
16 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 399
17 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 399
18 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 399
19 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 398
20 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 398
21 Matt Tifft Front Row Motorsports Ford 397
22 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 397
23 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 396
24 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 396
25 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 396
26 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 396
27 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 396
28 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 395
29 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 395
30 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 395
31 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 394
32 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 393
33 Austin Theriault Petty Ware Racing Chevrolet 392
34 J.J. Yeley Rick Ware Racing Ford 391
35 Spencer Boyd Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 388
36 Quin Houff Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 384
37 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 265
38 Reed Sorenson Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 233

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