…Martin Truex Jr. posted a fourth-place result Sunday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, ending the first round of the playoffs with a 3.3 finishing average. It was the best finishing average among the 16 playoff drivers. His fourth-place finish was preceded with a victory at Chicagoland Speedway (Sept. 17) and a fifth in New Hampshire (Sept. 24).
…Truex enters the next round of the playoffs first in points – 3059, an 18-point lead over second place Kyle Busch. The three playoff races in the Round of 12 will be at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 8), Talladega Superspeedway (Oct. 15) and Kansas Speedway (Oct. 22). The top eight drivers will advance to the next round.
…The Dover finish was Truex’s 13th top five and 20th top 10 of the season. He also led three times for 51 laps.
…“We were off a bit today,” said Truex, who started the 400-lap race from the pole. “The short-run, long-run speed weren’t quite there and the balance of the Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota shifted way too much. But when you run fourth and you’re disappointed it shows what your team is made of. Proud of everyone, they did a good job all weekend. I am looking forward to the next round and feel good about where this Furniture Row Racing team is at right now.”
…Rookie Erik Jones also overcame handling problems to claim a respectable 12th-place finish.
…“The SiriusXM Toyota was always way too tight firing off regardless of what we did," said Jones. "Just a frustrating day. I had to chase it up the hill in the turns all day. It was like I was skiing on the track all day. Just frustrating. Somehow we were able to salvage a 12th-place finish out of it."
…The race winner was Kyle Busch. Rounding out the top 10 were: Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Truex, Kyle Larson, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Daniel Suarez, Jamie McMurray and Brad Keselowski.
…The race had four cautions for 24 laps and a red flag for nearly 16 minutes. There were 15 lead changes among six drivers.
A complete report on each driver will follow.