After a three way battle in the closing laps, Martin Truex Jr. was able to out run Joey Logano and Clint Bowyer to the checkered flag in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway.
“You just had to hold ’em off,” Truex told FOX on the front stretch regarding the battle between Logano, Bowyer and himself. “Tonight we didn’t have the best car, but we’ve lost some here with the best car. We’ve kept chipping away at it and hopefully we get better from here on out.”
Truex claimed the lead from Brad Keselowski with just under 80 laps to go, and led to the finish with a race-high of 186 laps. Truex also improved his stage positions throughout the night, third in Stage 1 and second in Stage 2. Kyle Busch led 101 laps, but a speeding penalty paired with the caution for Kyle Larson’s crash knocked Busch off cycle. He wasn’t able to get back to the front, but continues his top 10 streak for the 2019 season among the opening nine races.
Logano won Stage 2 after passing Truex with a handful of laps remaining, but was not able to repeat at the end of the race.
“I figured something out there toward the end with about 10 laps to go to make up some speed,” Logano said. “Fun race, but, gosh, two weeks in a row I felt like we had a car that could win the race, and we haven’t won.”
At this point last year, Clint Bowyer already had a short track victory at Martinsville. He was looking to break the Team Penske/Joe Gibbs Racing duo by putting a Stewart-Haas Racing car in victory lane. He came up a couple of spots short, but not without a few side by side battles with Truex with around 20 laps to go.
“It’s frustrating,” said Bowyer. “I was faster on a long run than him, but by the time you get to (Truex), your stuff is pretty wore out. And with this aero package, you are so aero dependent behind those cars that you get terrible tight.”
Pole sitter Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin finished in the top five. Austin Dillon was the first and only Chevrolet driver in the top 10, finishing in sixth. Brad Keselowski, Stage 1 winner Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman and Paul Menard rounded out the top 10.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series takes Easter weekend off. They will race again at Talladega Superspeedway in the Geico 500 on April 28.