Written by Adrian Beecher
Whitesville, KY – Martin Truex Jr. started on the pole and finished the night out in front as he captured his fourth Cup Series victory of the season after leading 174 of the 267 laps.
“It feels good, you know? You never know how these races are going to play out. You never know quite what is going to happen and we had such a strong Toyota tonight they weren’t going to beat us. You never know how they’re going to turn out, so we just keep our heads down. We don’t get too excited.”
Tuex Jr. won all three stages of the race, in a dominant performance that left just 21 cars on the lead lap at the end of the race, with 2nd place Ryan Blaney finishing nearly 2 seconds behind Truex Jr. In fact, only six other drivers even took the lead, with one of those being Alex Bowman, who hit the wall shortly after the end of stage 1, bringing out the first caution for an incident on the track. His day wrapped up with a last-place finish.
It was one of just four caution flags on the day, in a clean race. The points leader Kyle Busch dominated on Friday evening in the Xfinity race, leading most of the way until the very end. He did not dominate the field on Saturday and didn’t even lead a lap. However, Rowdy was right near the front all day and capped off the weekend with a fourth-place finish. Busch remains the points leader, with Kevin Harvick in 3rd, while Truex Jr. sits 110 points behind the leader 3rd in the standings.
Truex Jr., Harvick, and Busch have won 14 of the 19 races run this season, as they continue to dominate the field. In total only seven drivers have made their way to victory lane this season and with only seven races left until the playoffs and 16 total spots available, points are coming hugely into play. Right now, it Bowman holding onto the final playoff spot, sitting 16th in the standings. However, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. sits only nine points back and 17th through 25th place in the standings are only 114 points apart.
Things continue to heat up on the circuit this summer as the Cup Series heads to Loudin, New Hamshire for the New Hampshire 301, where last year Denny Hamlin held up the lobster in victory lane. A win next weekend would seal Hamlin’s spot in the playoffs, while he currently sits 11th in the standings. After three straight Saturday races, the action returns to Sundays, with the green flag scheduled to drop at 2:00 pm EST, Sunday, July 22nd.