Martin Truex, Jr. Wins Seventh 2017 Race at Kansas Speedway

Jared C. Tilton, Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, KS – RIS – Martin Truex, Jr. continued the domination of the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series by winning the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.  Truex was already assured of advancing to the round of eight after winning a couple weeks ago at Charlotte. But after starting on the pole, the season’s most dominant driver calmly overcame a restart violation and a loose tire early on to win for the seventh time this season. It was also his sixth win on a track with a distance of a mile and a half.

Earlier, the Furniture Row team learned of the death of a crew member, and they raced with a heavy heart.

Just prior to the race, the Furniture Row team learned that fabricator Jim Watson had died Saturday night of a heart attack while in town for the playoff race. He was 55.

“We were racing for Jim today,” Truex said. “He was a heck of a guy.”

Kurt Busch finished second before a wave of playoff contenders headed by Ryan Blaney, whose car failed post-qualifying inspection. He quickly worked his way through the field from the 40th starting spot to finish third, easily making it within the playoff cutoff line.

Chase Elliott was fourth and Denny Hamlin finished fifth to punch their tickets to the next round. Kevin Harvick finished eighth to stay alive heading to Martinsville, while Kyle Busch finished 10th and Jimmie Johnson 11th — which allowed both to make the cutoff line.

Brad Keselowski finished 13th after his win last week at Talladega sent him to the next round.

“I felt we had a better car than that,” Keselowski said, “maybe sixth place.”

Kyle Larson blew his engine to spoil his chances of advancing, while a penalty on Matt Kenseth for having too many crew members of the pit wall following a wreck ended his championship hopes.

Jamie McMurray and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. also were eliminated from the playoffs.

Truex had dominated the 1 1/2-mile track at Kansas for years before finally breaking through with a victory in the spring. And while he had nothing to lose on Sunday, there was still a feeling that Truex wanted to win one for his late crew chief and the rest of their team.

“I can’t say enough about all these guys,” Truex said. “Just really proud of them, and definitely racing with a heavy heart. Jim was a great worker and put a lot of speed in these Toyotas.”

Larson began the race 33 points on the good side of the cut line, but he was forced to watch things play out after dropping a cylinder early in the race, then hearing his engine let go entirely.

His hopes improved when Erik Jones triggered a multi-car wreck on a restart with 70 laps to go, which collected McMurray and caused damage to Kenseth’s car. The former champion thought he would be able to continue when he reached pit road, but seven crew members hopped over the wall for repairs.

NASCAR’s damaged vehicle policy limits teams to six. The penalty is an immediate parking.

“I don’t know what the rules are. It seems like we have a lot of stuff that is changed so often I can’t keep up with it,” Kenseth said. “You’re not able to race anymore? I just don’t get it.”

The result left Larson hoping that Johnson, who started the day on the bubble, would falter. But despite two early spins, he managed to come home 11th to punch his ticket to the next round.  That didn’t happen.

The Talladega-like accident, which featured damage to 14 cars, was the first of its kind at Kansas Speedway.

The next stop in the championship chase is the half-mile track at Martinsville, Virginia next Sunday.  It was last year that Johnson won and moved on to join three other drivers in a win or take all race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in a winner-take-all final race.  By winning the pole for this race, Truex gets to pick first in pit stall selection, which is an advantage at Martinsville.

 

Unofficial Race Results for the 17Th Annual Hollywood Casino 400 - Kansas Speedway

Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps, St1, St2, Pts, Tms, Laps, Playoff Pts, Status
1) 1, Martin Truex Jr. (P), No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Toyota, 267, 8, , 43, 2, 91, 5, Running
2) 15, Kurt Busch, No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, 267, , , 35, , , , Running
3) 40, Ryan Blaney (P), No. 21 Omnicraft Auto Parts Ford, 267, 4, 8, 44, 1, 3, , Running
4) 14, Chase Elliott (P), No. 24 NAPA Chevrolet, 267, 7, 9, 39, , , , Running
5) 4, Denny Hamlin (P), No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota, 267, 3, 1, 50, 1, 5, 1, Running
6) 20, Chris Buescher, No. 37 Scott Towels Chevrolet, 267, , , 31, , , , Running
7) 19, Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet, 267, , , 30, , , , Running
8) 2, Kevin Harvick (P), No. 4 Jimmy John's Ford, 267, 2, 2, 47, 3, 37, , Running
9) 25, Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford, 267, , , 28, , , , Running
10) 7, Kyle Busch (P), No. 18 M&M's Halloween Toyota, 267, 1, 5, 43, 5, 112, 1, Running
11) 12, Jimmie Johnson (P), No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, 267, 6, 10, 32, , , , Running
12) 23, Paul Menard, No. 27 Richmond/Menards Chevrolet, 267, , , 25, , , , Running
13) 10, Brad Keselowski (P), No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, 267, , 3, 32, 2, 18, , Running
14) 11, Austin Dillon, No. 3 DOW Chevrolet, 267, , , 23, , , , Running
15) 21, Kasey Kahne, No. 5 UniFirst Chevrolet, 267, , , 22, , , , Running
16) 29, Ty Dillon #, No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet, 267, , , 21, , , , Running
17) 27, David Ragan, No. 38 TheHouse.com Ford, 267, , , 20, , , , Running
18) 16, Michael McDowell, No. 95 TWD Chevrolet, 267, , , 19, , , , Running
19) 9, Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Haas Automation Ford, 267, , , 18, , , , Running
20) 28, Trevor Bayne, No. 6 AdvoCare Ford, 267, , , 17, , , , Running
21) 17, Joey Logano, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, 267, , , 16, , , , Running
22) 30, Matt DiBenedetto, No. 32 Can-Am/Kappa Ford, 267, , , 15, , , , Running
23) 31, Landon Cassill, No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, 265, , , 14, , , , Running
24) 35, Cole Whitt, No. 72 TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet, 263, , , 13, , , , Running
25) 37, Reed Sorenson, No. 15 Low T Centers Chevrolet, 263, , , 12, , , , Running
26) 38, Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 33 hulu Chevrolet, 261, , , 11, , , , Running
27) 34, Corey LaJoie #, No. 23 Dr Pepper Toyota, 261, , , 10, , , , Running
28) 33, * Gray Gaulding #, No. 55 Harrah's North Kansas City Toyota, 259, , , 9, , , , Running
29) 24, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (P), No. 17 Fastenal Ford, 256, , , 8, , , , Accident
30) 36, * BJ McLeod(i), No. 51 Spoonful of Music Foundation Chevrolet, 254, , , 0, , , , Running
31) 32, * Brett Moffitt(i), No. 83 Earthwater Toyota, 238, , , 0, , , , Running
32) 26, AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Kroger ClickLIst Chevrolet, 232, , , 5, , , , Accident
33) 18, Ryan Newman, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, 203, , , 4, , , , Accident
34) 8, Jamie McMurray (P), No. 1 Cessna Chevrolet, 198, 5, 7, 13, 1, 1, , Accident
35) 6, Erik Jones #, No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota, 197, 10, 6, 8, , , , Accident
36) 5, Daniel Suarez #, No. 19 ARRIS Toyota, 197, , , 1, , , , Accident
37) 3, Matt Kenseth (P), No. 20 DeWalt Flexvolt Toyota, 197, 9, 4, 10, , , , Accident
38) 22, Danica Patrick, No. 10 Code 3 Associates Ford, 197, , , 1, , , , Accident
39) 13, Kyle Larson (P), No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet, 73, , , 1, , , , Engine
40) 39, * Derrike Cope, No. 00 StarCom Fiber Chevrolet, 35, , , 1, , , , Handling
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (P) Playoffs driver, (#) Rookie, (*) non-charter team

Race Comments: Martin Truex Jr. won the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, his 14th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. Prior to the green flag, no cars dropped to the rear of the field under penalty. 
Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 11 Mins, 57 Secs.
Average Speed: 125.189 MPH
Margin of Victory: 2.284 Seconds

Caution Flags: 10 for 49 laps: Laps: 32-35 (Competition [34]); 48-51 (No. 83 Incident Turn 2 [41]); 78-86 (Fluid On Track From No. 42 / Stage 1 Conclusion [32]); 157-159 (No. 83 Incident Turn 2 [43]); 162-166 (Stage 2 Conclusion [10]); 176-179 (No. 17 Incident Turn 3 [95]); 189-192 (No. 48 Incident Turn 4 [27]); 194-197 (No. 48 Incident Turn 3 [32]); 199-204 (No. 20, 1, 77, 22, 31, 14, 43, 19, 6, 24, 3, 88, 2, 10 Incident Backstretch [Red Flag: 10:10] [38]); 237-242 (No. 47 Incident Turn 4 [6]).
 Lead Changes: 14 among 7 drivers: M. Truex Jr. (P) 1-34; K. Busch (P) 35-47; B. Keselowski (P) 48-50; R. Blaney (P) 51-53; K. Busch (P) 54-81; K. Harvick (P) 82; K. Busch (P) 83-128; J. McMurray (P) 129; B. Keselowski (P) 130-144; K. Busch (P) 145-156; K. Harvick (P) 157; D. Hamlin (P) 158-162; K. Harvick (P) 163-197; K. Busch (P) 198-210; M. Truex Jr. (P) 211-267.
American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Kyle Busch, No. 18 
Coors Light Pole Award: Martin Truex Jr, No. 78 188.029 mph
Ingersoll Rand Power Move: Kevin Harvick, No. 4 13 positions
Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race: Roush-Yates Engines, No. 41 
Mobil 1 Driver of the Race: Kurt Busch, No. 41 
Moog Go the Extra Mile: Kurt Busch, No. 41 0.398 secs
Sherwin-Williams Fastest Lap: Kyle Busch, No. 18 
Sunoco Rookie of the Race: Ty Dillon, No. 13

Ron Fleshman with John Davison

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

Read More on Cup / XFINITY / Truck news
Volume 2017, Issue 10, Posted 9:02 PM, 10.22.2017