Truex Triumphant in Gibbs-Dominated Richmond Race

The second race of the first round of the playoffs was held at Richmond Raceway — an odd, egg-shaped, 3/4-mile track that has produced many memorable moments and shocking playoff implications in the past. This year, not so much.

LAP 1: Pole-sitter Brad Keselowski got a good start at the drop of the green flag thanks to a push from Chase Elliott in third position. Kevin Harvick settled into 2nd place.

LAP 28: Chase Elliott fell back to 7th after the handling of his #9 Chevrolet Camaro started to fade, a battle he would encounter all race long.

LAP 52: Martin Truex Jr began challenging Keselowski for the lead. An intense back-and-forth battle ensued, with Truex eventually claiming the top spot with the help of lapped traffic.

STAGE 1 END – LAP 100: Martin Truex Jr won the stage, earning the extra point that will help him in the next round of the playoffs. Behind him, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 5 at the conclusion of the stage. Kyle Busch won the race off pit road and restarted with the lead.

CAUTION – LAP 112: While racing three-wide on the restart, the #88 of Alex Bowman, the #3 of Austin Dillon, and the #24 of William Byron all made contact that resulted in a cut left-rear on Byron’s car. In the next corner, Dillon decided to show his displeasure with Bowman and spun the #88 which brought out the caution.

LAP 188: After leading the entire stage without issue, Busch found himself with a rear-view mirror full of Martin Truex who came from 3 seconds behind to challenge for P1.

STAGE 2 END – LAP 200: Kyle Busch held onto the lead and won Stage 2 with Truex in a very close second place. Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, and Brad Keselowski made up the rest of the top 5 and Busch held onto the lead on pit road.

CAUTION – LAP 242: The #77 of Reed Sorenson had a steering issue and went straight into the wall in Turn 2. On pit road under caution, Brad Keselowski stole P1 from Kyle Busch while Aric Almirola received a speeding penalty and Jimmie Johnson missed his pit stall, forcing him to make a second stop.

LAP 251: On the restart, Kyle Busch spun his tires and stacked up the entire outside lane, which allowed Ryan Newman to slingshot into third place and Brad Keselowski to pull away with the lead.

LAP 286: Martin Truex hunted down and passed Keselowski for P1.

CAUTION – LAP 314: After making his green-flag pit stop, Ricky Stenhouse in the #17 had slick tires and not a lot of grip. Stenhouse got loose in Turn 4 and hit the right-rear quarter panel of Truex in the #19, which spun him into a huge cloud of smoke in the middle of the track. Luckily for Truex, he avoided contact with the wall and other drivers.

LAP 358: Truex passed his teammate Denny Hamlin for second place.

LAP 375: Despite being 1.2 seconds behind, Truex caught and passed his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate of Kyle Busch on the inside line. Truex set sail as Busch fell back 2.4 seconds racing in lapped traffic.

CHECKERED FLAG – LAP 400: For the second week in a row, Martin Truex took the checkered flag, marking his 6th win of the season.

POST RACE: Although race-winner Martin Truex Jr cleared post-race inspection, his teammate Erik Jones was not as fortunate. Jones’ 4th place finish was disqualified, any points earned during the race were stripped, and Joe Gibbs Racing’s first-ever 1-2-3-4 showing became 1-2-3.

RESULTS: 

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

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