NASCAR results at Kentucky: Martin Truex’s late gamble pays off with win in dominating race – Sporting News

Martin Truex Jr. dominated Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway, but in the end, he needed a huge gamble in overtime to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race.

Truex led 152 of the 274 laps in the Quaker State 400, and won the first two stages of the race. He was so far out in front of the field much of the night that it was clear it would take a fluke for someone else to win the event.

That fluke almost happened. Just as Truex was set to take the white flag, a caution came out for Kurt Busch’s mechanical problem. That set up overtime, and the strategy played out like this: crew chief Cole Pearn rolled the dice and left Truex and the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota out on the track, while all the other leaders pitted for fresher, cooler — and faster — tires.

Even though Truex’s car had been a beast throughout the race, many thought he’d be a sitting duck on the restart. 

“I thought we were dead,” Truex told NBCSN afterward. “I thought we were done. It’s just completely unbelievable.”

But the gamble worked. Truex quickly pulled away on the restart and held on for his 10th career NASCAR Cup victory and his third this season. The race finished under caution because of a multicar crash behind the lead pack.

“I can’t say enough about him,” Truex said about Pearn.

Kyle Larson finished second, capping a remarkable night that saw him start at the rear of the field, race his way to third, then get sent to the back of the pack because of a speeding penalty on pit road.

Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five. Saturday afternoon, Busch had won the rain-delayed Alsco 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race.

As noted earlier, Truex won the first two stages of the event, giving him a NASCAR Cup-series leading 13 stage wins this season. How impressive is that? Kyle Busch has the second-most stage wins, with four.

Still, despite the dominating performance, Truex’s win came down to that pit-strategy gamble, and his ability to get a fast restart in overtime. He’d had a feeling even as he led the way throughout the night that his win wouldn’t come easy.

“I worried every lap waiting for a caution. Fortunately, I was able to hold them off,” he said.

Results from the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Quaker State 400 at Kentucky
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Kyle Larson
3. Chase Elliott
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Kyle Busch
6. Erik Jones
7. Jamie McMurray
8. Joey Logano
9. Kevin Harvick
10. Ryan Blaney
11. Darrell Wallace Jr.
12. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
13. Clint Bowyer
14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
15. Danica Patrick
16. Chris Buescher
17. Matt Kenseth
18. Daniel Suarez
19. Austin Dillon
20. AJ Allmendinger
21. Paul Menard
22. Ryan Newman
23. Michael McDowell
24. David Ragan
25. Matt DiBenedetto
26. Landon Cassill
27. Ryan Sieg
28. Reed Sorenson
29. Jeffrey Earnhardt
30. Kurt Busch
31. Timmy Hill
32. B.J McLeod
33. Ty Dillon
34. Cole Whitt
35. Gray Gaulding
36. Joey Gase
37. Trevor Bayne
38. Kasey Kahne
39. Brad Keselowski
40. Jimmie Johnson

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