Truex Earns Spot in Round of 12 Via Vegas Win

Everyone knows Las Vegas is a gambling city. So what do race car drivers do when they visit the city’s race track? Naturally, they take chances. This was the case for the 16 playoff drivers trying to keep their championship hopes alive by making it out of the first round. The race was filled with overly aggressive moves, wild restarts, and risky passes.

LAP 1: Clint Bowyer led the field to green as the pole-sitter. His teammates of Daniel Suarez, Aric Almirola, and Kevin Harvick started P2, P3, and P4 behind him as Stewart-Haas Racing swept the front two rows. Bowyer was quickly challenged by Suarez with both cars making slight contact while fighting for the lead; by Lap 3, Suarez had won the battle.

LAP 13: Kyle Busch made an unscheduled pit stop after hitting the wall 6 laps prior. Busch lost 2 laps to the leader as his team tried to repair the left rear quarter panel that was caved in due to contact with the wall.

LAP 38: Suarez lost the lead to Joey Logano and then dropped to third after teammate Aric Almirola also passed him.

LAP 59: When green flag pitstops concluded, the top spot cycled back to Joey Logano in the #22, making the race feel reministent of the first race at Las Vegas this season, where Logano put on a dominate show and went on to win.

STAGE 1 END – LAP 80: Unsurpisingly, Joey Logano won the stage and gained a playoff point. Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Daniel Suarez, and Austin Dillon rounded out the top 5 at the end of the segment.  On pit road, Logano lost the lead to Kevin Harvick in the #4, but got it back on the restart.

LAP 90: Erik Jones in the #20 experienced an issue with the transmission in which his Toyota Camry got stuck in second gear. Jones went to the garage where his team made repairs and he would return to the track 13 laps down.

LAP 134: After green-flag pit stops, Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr cycled through to P2 and P3 respectively behind Logano in the #22. Elliott and Truex battled for P2 for several laps as they tried to gain on Logano. Truex eventually claimed P2 and hunted down the #22 in the closing laps of the segment.

STAGE 2 END – LAP 160: Martin Truex Jr passed Joey Logano with one lap to go in Stage 2 and won the stage. Truex held onto the lead off pit road, with Logano and Elliott rolling off P2 and P3.

LAP 171: Chase Elliott in the #9 made an aggresive move on Truex to take the lead.

CAUTION – LAP 180: Elliott’s teammate, William Byron in the #24, spun on the entrance to pit road after making contact with Ryan Blaney.  The incident cut the left rear tire on the #24. Byron didn’t hit anything on track and was out of the way of the field, but the yellow flag was displayed regardless.

LAP 187: While racing for position in a 4-wide battle, Joey Logano slid up the track and into the side of Daniel Surez. On the next lap, Suarez squeezed Logano against the outside SAFER wall, which scraped the enter right side of Logano’s #22. Logano was forced to pit which essentially took him out of contention for the win.

CAUTION – LAP 188: On the restart, Martin Truex tried to shoot through the pack in the middle lane, squeezing Kurt Busch in the #1 and cutting the left front tire on Busch’s car. Busch was unable to turn and hit the wall in Turn 3, ending his day.

On pit road, Kevin Harvick made up spots on Truex and Logano by taking only 2 tires and he restarted in P1.

LAP 216: Kyle Busch, who was 2 laps down at the start of the race, found himself back on the lead lap and racing in the Top 10 with a well-performing race car that was passing others like they were standing still. Busch’s comeback can be attributed to the previous cautions that allowed him to make the laps up under yellow.

LAP 230: The final green-flag pit stops of the night started taking place, with Joey Logano and Martin Truex being two of the first cars on pit road. When the stops concluded with 20 to go, Harvick cycled through to the lead, but was passed by Truex.

LAP 254: Kyle Busch, who had made it up to 4th place and was coming up on a pack of lapped traffic, ran directly into the back of Garrett Smithley’s #52. After the incident, Busch began complaining of an ill-handling car and fell back to 19th place with just 13 laps to go.

CHECKERED FLAG – LAP 267: Truex crossed the finish line to claim his 5th win of the season. This victory locks him into the next round of the playoffs. 

RESULTS:

  1. Martin Truex Jr
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Chase Elliott
  5. Ryan Blaney
  6. Alex Bowman
  7. William Byron
  8. Kyle Larson
  9. Joey Logano
  10. Ryan Newman
  11. Jimmie Johnson
  12. Austin Dillon
  13. Aric Almirola
  14. Paul Menard
  15. Denny Hamlin
  16. Ty Dillon
  17. Daniel Hemric
  18. Chris Buescher
  19. Kyle Busch
  20. Daniel Suarez
  21.  Matt DiBenedetoo
  22. David Ragan
  23. Bubba Wallace
  24. Michael McDowell
  25. Clint Bowyer
  26. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
  27. Ryan Preece
  28. Corey LaJoie
  29. Landon Cassill
  30. Matt Tifft
  31. Ross Chastain
  32. JJ Yeley
  33. BJ McLeod
  34. Joe Nemechek
  35. Garrett Smithley
  36. Erik Jones
  37. Reed Sorenson
  38. Joey Gase
  39. Kurt Busch

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