Truex Hot in Bank of America 500

(CONCORD, NC – OCT 8, 2017 – RIS) Martin Truex Jr and his crew took a car that he admitted was nowhere near winning and drove it to Victory Lane after a late race overtime restart for Furniture Row Racing's sixth win and 21st top ten finish in the 2017 season. Kevin Harvick dominated the race, leading 149 out of the 337 laps, including an overtime restart, with Truex leading the next most laps – 91. Denny Hamlin headed 45 rounds while Kyle Busch was in front for 22 laps. Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson both led a dozen laps, while Jamie McMurray was in front for four laps and Kasey Kahne headed a pair of rounds.

On lap 45, Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer had contact, resulting in a minor fire but lots of smoke from Newman's car.

Kyle Busch scraped the wall while running in second place, made numerous pit stops and fell back to five laps down from the leaders after numerous incidents with the No. 18 Toyota hitting the wall. The incidents resulted in damage to the car that allowed exhaust fumes to reach Busch, sending his Carbon Monoxide levels out of the normal range.

Did the impact to the crush panels cause excessive fumes in the car? “Of course, they said my CO was in the double digits and I’m fighting some of that too. That was just the hottest I’ve been in the car. I didn’t feel sick from the CO or anything like that, but I felt heat stroke and I’ve had that before. Living in Vegas, you have that a few times when you’re playing outside in the summer as a kid. I knew what it was, I knew what it felt like, but the only way to do it is to just get out and get cooled down."

At 69 laps to go David Ragan spun into the path of Danica Patrick in the second turn, with the right front corner of Patrick's car destroyed. Both cars were knocked out of the race.

During a green flag pit stop, Kyle Larson's rear tire carrier tripped on an air hose, slowing the stop and dropping Larson out of the top ten, but he drove up into the top ten within twenty laps.

Chase Elliott Press Conference:
THE MODERATOR:  Chase, another solid performance by your team in this round of playoffs.  Just talk a little bit about your run today in the 24.
CHASE ELLIOTT:  Yeah, it's been a solid start.  Obviously, we'd like to pick up one spot, but overall just the way we've been running since the playoffs started has been refreshing, and definitely makes it a lot of fun to come to the track and know that our car is going to drive pretty good, our pit stops have been really nice, and now is definitely the time of year to do that.  So hopefully we can carry it forward, what, five or six more weeks and see what it's got to offer.

Q.  Chase, two second‑place finishes, talk about that going into Talladega next week.
CHASE ELLIOTT:  Yeah, I mean, it's nice to run in the top 5 solidly.  Obviously, you hate to run second because that means you were close to first, but hopefully we'll have our day sometime.

 Q.  And Chase, for you, Denny cited the humidity just before you got in here.  Obviously, we saw it was a really physical, really grueling race.  What did you feel in your car?  What were the challenges for you as far as this day goes and going the full chance?
CHASE ELLIOTT:  Yeah, it was hot, for sure, one of the ‑‑ I'd say one of the hottest or toughest races of the year from that perspective.  I thought we kind of had a mild summer in my opinion, and it was humid and hot today for ‑‑ here we are in October, so definitely warm.

 Q.  Chase, do you feel any better after today, you're second where you're sitting after last week?
CHASE ELLIOTT:  Definitely doesn't make last week any better by any means, but the way we've run over the past two weeks is definitely refreshing.  You hope that we can keep running like we are, and like I said a minute ago, if we can, then opportunities will definitely be there.  If we capitalize on them, hopefully we'll have our day.

Q.  We heard Kevin Harvick in his post‑race interview talk about how the traction compound was definitely going away as the race went on.  Was that something you guys noticed while you were driving out there?  Was it a challenge to find grip as that traction compound went away?
CHASE ELLIOTT:  I thought it went away a little bit.  It was definitely pretty grippy up there, and just never seemed like the top‑top came in.  I guess guys were just a little skeptical to get up there.  It never really got dusted off, so it was hard to leave that middle groove from what I saw.

Dale Blaney Notes:
“It stinks we couldn’t get any (more) stage points, especially in that first one, but I thought we did a good job of getting better throughout the race,” Blaney said.

“We were a lot better at the end of the race than what we were at the beginning,” Blaney said. “That says a lot about the team and hopefully we can keep it up and run decent the next two weeks. I’m proud of the effort to get better and the hard work, so that’s what we needed. We just need to start better.

 “It’s solid,” he continued. “I was just really loose in all day over the bumps and things. That was something we tried to get better at and we got a little better, but we needed a little bit more.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 4th
You had a crew that got you up front at the end, how was it? “Definitely pit crew did a phenomenal job. Number one pit stall was big for us as well. It’s just, you know Charlotte on restarts, having a car fast enough to kind of make moves. We were decent in the long run, but you know still – not as fast as what we needed to be short or long.”

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Tide Pods Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 11th
What was your day like today? “It was really frustrating, really puzzling. We were running third that one run, catching both leaders and the end of the run thought we were pretty close, just wanted a little adjustment. I don’t really know what happened. We took off the next stop and it was just totally out of control. It was just so loose you just couldn’t drive it. We got a little bit better that last long run. We’re going to get back up in the top-10 there somewhere, it’s just I couldn’t restart either. It was just a frustrating day all around.

How do you feel about Talladega next week? I don’t know. You do the best you can every week. You try to stay up front and get as many points as you can. We’ll just go there and do our best, try to figure out a plan. Hopefully we’re fast enough to be in that lead group. The guys that got fast cars there typically can stay out of trouble and you can go race other people. It’s when you’re hanging on and everybody’s in a different lane is when you find yourself in trouble. Hopefully our car’s fast”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 29th
How are you after being overheated at the end of the race? “I’m alright, I’m better now. I got heat soaked and felt like I had heat stroke just from being inside the race car for 200 laps with the crush panels knocked out of it. Obviously, it was my bad, just trying to get a little too much too early in the race and got too high out of the groove and got myself into the fence and tore the right side off of it. My guys did a great job trying to rebound and get it back together as much as we could throughout the day. It was just evil out there the rest of the day trying to stay with a relative pace with the rest of the field. We were just kind of hanging on with our Interstate Batteries Camry. After I first tore it up, it was just a handful from there. Literally as soon as I did it, just coasting around under caution I could feel it being about 50 degrees hotter inside the car. It just got so hot that you literally felt like you were going to puke and just trying to make it to the end of the race and luckily we did. From there, just trying to get cooled down and get body temperature back to normal.” 

How do you feel heading to Talladega just 12 points above the cutoff line? “It stinks to give up points, we come in here and thought we had a good shot to run in the top-10 and we did and I threw it away. We’re still above the cut line, but we don’t have that cushion that we’d like to have going to Talladega and crash out early and be back in the pack and be coming from behind in Kansas. That’s what you try to not have happen, but anything can happen in racing so we just have to go out and race, race hard and do a good job at Talladega to get through there with still a cushion and then we can go race them and be fine hopefully through Kansas.”

Did you lose the grip from the VHT/PJ1 and that caused you to hit the wall? “I got out of it or whatever you want to call it, I got in the slick stuff. I got into (turn) three and I was following (Kevin) Harvick and tried to get up a little bit and a little bit and the last few laps before that, everything was fine and I was kind of inching it up and inching it up and apparently an inch a lap is too high and just got crossed up and as soon as I turned off into the corner it was sideways.”

Was this the same thing that happened to you on Friday when you hit the wall? “No, Friday I was running lower and got a little bit tight and then when I got into the stuff it just sucked me into the wall. That was on the exit of the corner, but later in the day the same thing happened again when I got into the wall the second time after they had repaired it the first time, the same thing happened to me. I entered the corner and thought I was normal and wasn’t trying to enter too high or anything and it just stepped out on me and the car was already hurt by then and obviously tore it up more.”

Should they not use the VHT/PJ1 here at Charlotte moving forward? “Man, it was fine in the spring and I don’t know what the process was or what was different from the spring to this time. The middle groove, everything was fine there, but you could never get higher. It was really slick on entries up high and on exits up high so I don’t know what processes weren’t done, but there was something that wasn’t done right.”

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: “That’s about where we were going to run, second or third. We just kind of lost a little bit of the track there as the VHT started to wear off in the second half of the race. But they did a great job all day. For the most part, we had good stops all day – just the timing of the bad one came at the end, but, for the most part, they did a great job. Everybody in the field had a bad stop at some point today, so it was a good day for our Jimmy John’s/Busch Ford, and everybody is doing a good job with the speed of the cars.”

Unofficial Race Results for the 58Th Annual Bank Of America 500 - October 8, 2017 - Charlotte Motor Speedway

Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps, Tms, Laps, St1, St2, Playoff Pts, Pts, Status
1) 17, Martin Truex Jr (P), No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota, 337, 2, 91, , 4, 5, 47, Running
2) 7, Chase Elliott (P), No. 24 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet, 337, 2, 12, 2, 2, , 53, Running
3) 3, Kevin Harvick (P), No. 4 Jimmy John's Ford, 337, 4, 149, 1, 1, 2, 54, Running
4) 1, Denny Hamlin (P), No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota, 337, 2, 45, 6, 6, , 43, Running
5) 18, Jamie McMurray (P), No. 1 Sherwin-Williams Chevrolet, 337, 1, 4, 3, 10, , 41, Running
6) 14, Daniel Suarez #, No. 19 STANLEY Toyota, 337, , , 9, , , 33, Running
7) 25, Jimmie Johnson (P), No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, 337, , , 10, 8, , 34, Running
8) 15, Ryan Blaney (P), No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, 337, , , , 9, , 31, Running
9) 9, Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Road to Race Day Chevrolet, 337, 1, 2, , , , 28, Running
10) 10, Kyle Larson (P), No. 42 Target Chevrolet, 337, 1, 12, 4, 7, , 38, Running
11) 2, Matt Kenseth (P), No. 20 Tide Pods Toyota, 337, , , 7, 3, , 38, Running
12) 23, Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet, 337, , , , , , 25, Running
13) 22, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (P), No. 17 SunnyD Ford, 337, , , , , , 24, Running
14) 26, Trevor Bayne, No. 6 AdvoCare Ford, 337, , , , , , 23, Running
15) 6, Brad Keselowski (P), No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford, 337, , , , , , 22, Running
16) 13, Austin Dillon, No. 3 DOW Chevrolet, 337, , , , , , 21, Running
17) 38, Erik Jones #, No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota, 337, , , , , , 20, Running
18) 21, Chris Buescher, No. 37 Gain Chevrolet, 337, , , , , , 19, Running
19) 20, Paul Menard, No. 27 Menards/Schrock Chevrolet, 337, , , , , , 18, Running
20) 19, AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Kroger ClickList Chevrolet, 337, , , , , , 17, Running
21) 27, Ty Dillon #, No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet, 337, , , , , , 16, Running
22) 8, Kurt Busch, No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford, 337, , , 8, 5, , 24, Running
23) 29, Matt DiBenedetto, No. 32 EJ Wade Foundation Ford, 337, , , , , , 14, Running
24) 24, Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford, 337, , , , , , 13, Running
25) 30, Landon Cassill, No. 34 Love'sTravel Stops/Roller Bites Ford, 336, , , , , , 12, Running
26) 28, Joey Logano, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, 335, , , , , , 11, Running
27) 5, Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Haas Automation Ford, 335, , , , , , 10, Running
28) 39, Corey LaJoie #, No. 23 Toyota, 333, , , , , , 9, Running
29) 4, Kyle Busch (P), No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, 331, 2, 22, 5, , , 14, Running
30) 37, Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 33 hulu Chevrolet, 330, , , , , , 7, Running
31) 34, Reed Sorenson, No. 15 Xchange of America Chevrolet, 330, , , , , , 6, Running
32) 33, * BJ McLeod(i), No. 51 Donnie Neuenberger Foundation Chevrolet, 326, , , , , , 0, Running
33) 36, * Timmy Hill(i), No. 66 O.C.R. Gaz Bar Chevrolet, 326, , , , , , 0, Running
34) 32, Cole Whitt, No. 72 TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet, 295, , , , , , 3, Running
35) 16, Michael McDowell, No. 95 Procore Chevrolet, 293, , , , , , 2, Running
36) 35, * Gray Gaulding #, No. 55 Low T Center Toyota, 267, , , , , , 1, Running
37) 31, David Ragan, No. 38 Ford, 263, , , , , , 1, Accident
38) 12, Danica Patrick, No. 10 Warriors In Pink Ford, 263, , , , , , 1, Accident
39) 40, * Brett Moffitt(i), No. 83 Champion Machinery Toyota, 89, , , , , , 0, Accident
40) 11, Ryan Newman, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, 43, , , , , , 1, Accident
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie, (P) Playoffs, (*) Non-charter team

Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 38 Mins, 00 Secs.
Total Race Length - 337 Laps - 505.5 Miles
Average Speed: 139.128 MPH
Margin of Victory: 0.911 Seconds
Race Comments: Martin Truex Jr. (P) won the 58th Annual Bank of America 500, his 13th victory in 435 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series races.
Caution Flags: 10 for 44 laps: Laps: 37-40 (Competition Caution [34]); 45-51 (No. 31, No. 14 Incident on Backstretch [72]); 92-97 (Stage 1 Conclusion [32]); 117-120 (No. 95 Incident in Turn 2 [22]); 137-140 (No. 18 Incident in Turn 3 [5]); 182-185 (Stage 2 Conclusion [32]); 267-270 (No. 10, No. 38 Incident in Turn 2 [13]); 280-283 (No. 18 Incident in Turn 2 [6]); 327-330 (No. 18 Incident in Turn 3 [47]); 333-335 (No. 41 Incident in Turn 1 [43]).
Lead Changes: 14 among 8 drivers: D. Hamlin (P) 1-40; C. Elliott (P) 41-51; K. Harvick (P) 52-93; J. McMurray (P) 94-97; K. Busch (P) 98-116; K. Harvick (P) 117; K. Busch (P) 118-120; K. Harvick (P) 121-225; C. Elliott (P) 226; D. Hamlin (P) 227-231; K. Kahne 232-233; M. Truex Jr (P) 234-267; K. Larson (P) 268-279; K. Harvick (P) 280; M. Truex Jr (P) 281-337.

John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

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Volume 2017, Issue 9, Posted 9:43 PM, 10.08.2017