Martin Truex, Jr. Cruises to Compelling Dover Sprint Cup Victory
Martin Truex, Jr. made it look easy, winning the Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway while holding off Kyle Busch by 7.527 seconds. He’s certainly ready for the next phase of the Sprint Cup Chase to the Championship, while four other teams were eliminated from the title.
It was Truex’s fourth win of the season, second of the Chase and seventh of his career at the site of his first Cup win in 2007.
“We’re not messing around, I guess,” Truex said, understating the case for his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team. “I don’t know — what else can you say? We’re here to get it done, and, golly, I’m telling you just the best bunch of guys you could ever ask for. It’s just amazing to drive their race cars and do what we were able to do. I’m just ecstatic.
“I mean, this is just unbelievable. Especially here – I love this racetrack. It’s been considered a home track for me for a long time. It’s been since ’07 since I won here. Have a lot of heartbreaks here, but all in all, just a phenomenal race car again today. I’ve got to pinch myself. We’re ready to go to Charlotte (for the opening race in the Round of 12).”
Chase drivers dominated the top nine in the finishing order, with Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin running third through ninth, respectively. Carl Edwards was 14th, Kurt Busch, 15th and Kevin Harvick, who won last week in New Hampshire, 37th.
Drivers eliminated from title contention were Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, rookie Chris Buescher and three-time champ Tony Stewart.
Truex’s No. 78 Toyota team, residing in Denver, Colo., is riding a crest of success. With their Chicago win, they appear to be the team to beat this season.
“That’s just it, I mean, it’s just clicking,” said Truex. “I don’t know. Honestly, I feel like all season long we’ve been the same team, and we’ve done the same things. You know, I guess right now it’s just our time. You know, throughout the summer, we led so many laps and had so many great race cars and so many great weekends that would just – things would happen. Sometimes it was just rotten luck; sometimes it was mistakes or just circumstances that didn’t play out. Nevertheless, I think that the biggest thing is we just kept our heads in the game. We stayed focused on the things that truly matter, and when all that bad luck went away, here we are. I mean, it’s just been amazing. We’ve got confidence, we’ve got momentum, and we’re just rolling with it and taking it one week at a time, and hopefully we can continue this for seven more weeks. ”
The next three races in Chase of 8 are at Charlotte, Kan. and Talladega as a kicker with the Bank of America 500 next weekend on Saturday night, Oct. 8, on NBC.
Impressive Dover Drive for Daniel Suarez
The rain-delayed Drive Sober 200 NASCAR Xfinity race was a grand time to show the top quality drivers in the series, and Daniel Suarez made the most of his opportunity at Dover International Speedway.
Persistent rain showers on Saturday pushed all the race day activities to Sunday morning, and drivers Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon and Joey Logano decided not to run the race with Chase implications on their mind, giving Drew Herring, Regan Smith and Ryan Blaney some seat time.
After 200 laps, Suarez proved supreme in handling and horsepower all morning, and now with his win he advances into the NASCAR Xfinity Chase of 8 that concludes the first segment of elimination at Charlotte, joining Elliott Sadler as the one of the two playoff winners.
“I’m very proud of this team,” Suarez said. “They did a really good job today, and the guys just brought an amazing car. We had a ton of speed. This is one of those races that you would feel bad to lose.”
It was Suarez’s second Xfinity win; he lead for 123 circuits at Dover. Following Suarez were Ty Dillon, Justin Allgaier, and Ryan Blaney; in fifth was Alex Bowman.
Now all eyes are focused on the championship and with Suarez and Sadler moving on, it leaves Justin Allgaier (+17) in third followed by Brendan Gaughan (+14). Ryan Reed (+11), Darrell Wallace, Jr. (+10), Blake Koch (+4), Brennan Poole (+3) all above the cutline. Those drivers in jeopardy are Ty Dillon (-3), Erik Jones (-4), Ryan Sieg (-10), and Brandon Jones in twelfth. (-18)
Up next for the NASCAR Xfinity series is the Drive for the Cure 300 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday night, Oct. 7, airing on NBCSN.
Showing Strength, Tyler Reddick Captures Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s DC Solar 350K
It was a signature night for the NASCAR Ford Truck team of Brad Keselowski Racing at the DC Solar 350K, finishing a team first 1-2 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with teammate Tyler Reddick winning and Chase of 8 contender Daniel Hemric following in second.
Reddick was a preseason favorite, predicted to be a likely candidate for the first class of Chase of 8, but due to unforeseen situations was on the outside for the championship hunt. He was always a strong truck in every race, though, collecting 10 top 10 finishes so far in 2016.
“It’s an incredible accomplishment,” said the enthusiastic and emotional Reddick. “Not just for our team but for our entire BKR organization. This is something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time and that’s winning on a mile and half racetrack.
“I had to do it. I had to get aggressive. I probably made some moves on my teammate that I shouldn’t have. I know he’s not the happiest with me right now, getting on his door real bad. Honestly, I knew that run right there at the end we had to make that move to hold him off. It’s a really big deal and I’m just glad I’m the pilot to bring it home to victory lane.”
It was Reddick’s third win of his youthful truck career and first of the season, finishing in the runner-up position in the points last year.
Reddick was referring to a brief incident around the 100-lap mark after a restart as he side drafted a little rougher than normally against teammate Hemric, hurrying to the front to chase then leader Cole Custer.
“He was good,” said Hemric, earning his ninth Top 5 finish. “Clean air is always king at these mile and half racetracks. It’s BKR’s first and I congratulate Tyler and the entire No. 29 guys. They did what they had to do and they won the race on pit road getting that clean air, which was such a big deal. We fought hard, probably a little too much with the 00 (Cole Custer) and hurt our fight front tire too much.
“I felt that if I could fall back a little, I could cool it down to make a charge, but lost all right front turn. I tried running the top and lost a half second. He could come off the white line a little earlier than me and make a gain. It was a solid day for the whole company.”
The top five in the rundown were Reddick, Hemric, Cole Custer, Ben Kennedy and William Byron.
The last race of the first segment of the Chase to 8 elimination round concludes on Saturday, Oct. 22, for the Fred’s 250 powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega SuperSpeedway airing on the FOX Network.