In the past two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, Martin Truex Jr. has led a total of 173 laps. The driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota added another 187 when he dominated the Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway, a race where only six cars finished on the lead lap.
With his fourth victory of the season, Truex Jr. is looking to be a strong bet for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. “We’re not messing around I guess,” he said in a Toyota Racing release. “We are here to get it done.”
The Mayetta, NJ native is thrilled with the way his Colorado race team, Furniture Row Racing performed at his ‘home game’. “Just the best bunch of guys you could ever ask for,” Truex Jr. said. “It’s just amazing to drive their race cars and do what we are able to do.”
The last time Truex Jr. visited Victory Lane at the ‘Monster Mile’ was back in 2007 when he earned his inaugural win at the highest level of racing. “I love this race track,” he said. It’s been considered a home track for me for a long time. Have a lot of heartbreaks here but all in all, just a phenomenal race car again today. I’ve just got to pinch myself. It’s unbelievable.”
Kyle Busch led 107 of 400 laps. When the checkered flag flew, the No. 18 M&M’s Core Toyota driver finished second. “I was just waiting to make my move,” Busch explained to NBC Sports of catching Truex Jr. “I had him in my sights all day long, no I’m just kidding. I had nobody in my sights. I was in my own area code and he was in his own zip code.”
It was still not a shabby run for the defending Sprint Cup champion. “A great day for our M&M’s Camry,” he said. “The guys have done an awesome job. We’ve got really fast cars, just missing the boat on something the No. 78 team has figured out.”
Busch moves on to Charlotte, Kansas and Talladega in the third spot in the playoff standings. “It was a good points day for us,” he said. “We’re able to move on to the next round and get ourselves to Homestead. That’s what matters most.”
Sprint Cup rookie Chase Elliott finished third in the No. 24 Mountain Dew Chevrolet. He moves on to the ‘Round of 12’ in the seventh-place position. “We’ve been working on our car throughout the weekend and I feel like we got it the best we had had it there two runs before the end,” Elliott explained in a Team Chevy post-race press release. “I guess it was a good time to try to get it with that long green-flag run. Things kind of worked out for us to get a couple of extra spots that would have been hard to get otherwise. I’m proud of the effort.”
Austin Dillon started the day in the Chase standings below the cut line. However, around lap 164, the driver of the No. 3 AAA Chevrolet squeaked into the top 12. “I have been working hard as a driver to make myself better.” Dillon said, also in the Team Chevy release. “This series is very tough and I think the biggest thing was not giving up.”
Kyle Larson came to Dover on the plus side. Unfortunately, issues in the pits early in the race followed by a tire problem on lap 182 took the No. 42 Target Chevrolet driver out of the ‘Round of 12’. “There wasn’t much we could do.” Larson explained of his day at Dover in a release from Team Chevy. “I cut the right front tire down and got in the wall, still had good speed in the race car after that but it just didn’t work out. I know we have the speed to have made it past a couple of rounds but it’s my typical luck I guess.”
Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher are the other three that will not move on in NASCAR's playoffs. However, they will still be on track gunning for race wins.
The race lasted for three hours, three minutes and 15 seconds. The caution flag flew four times for 22 laps.
The ‘Round of 12’ begins next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway when the Bank of America 500 kicks off next Saturday night at 5:00 PM ET. NBC, PRN and SiriusXM Channel 90 are scheduled to have coverage.
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kyle Busch
- Chase Elliott
- Brad Keselowski
- Matt Kenseth
- Joey Logano
- Jimmie Johnson
- Austin Dillon
- Denny Hamlin
- Jeff Gordon