Martin Truex wins Kobalt 400 NASCAR race
LAS VEGAS - Martin Truex Jr. dominated the Kobalt 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, winning all three stages and leading 150 of the 267 laps that made up the race enroute to the win. "We finally got ...
LAS VEGAS - Martin Truex Jr. dominated the Kobalt 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, winning all three stages and leading 150 of the 267 laps that made up the race enroute to the win.
"We finally got some (good luck)," Truex said. "We definitely had our share of races where we've dominated and gave one away, and it looked like today was going to be another one of those."
Fireworks were provided by Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. The two drivers made contact on the final lap that sent Busch's car spinning toward pit road and to a 22nd-place finish. When Busch approached Logano after the race, Logano was pulled away as a scuffle ensued involving Busch and members of Logano's No. 22 team.
"We were just racing hard, there, at the end," Logano said. "I was underneath him on the backstretch, and he tried to crash me into the corner getting underneath Brad (Keselowski) there, and at that point, I was just trying to get through the corner. I was sideways all the way through and got into him. Nothing intentional. I understand his frustration; he crashed. The same thing could have happened into (turn three) what he did to me."
Keselowski, Logano's Team Penske teammate, took the lead from Truex with 24 laps remaining, but fell off the pace with two laps remaining, enabling Truex to retake the lead and drive on to the win.
After the race, Keselowski didn't know what happened to his car."
"They'll have to take it apart," Keselowski said. "At the end, we have to go to inspection and stuff, so we're not allowed to look. I just know it was something major. It wouldn't turn and I lost brakes, so that's a pretty good indicator, but that's the way it goes. That's racing, and that's why you watch until the end, and you never know what's going to happen."
Keselowski dropped back to finish fifth. Kyle Larson finished second, Chase Elliott was third, and Logano was fourth.
"It's frustrating, but you put yourself in position to win and good things will happen," Keselowski said. "That happened to us last week and didn't happen this week, so you just pick up the pieces and move on. Luckily, they're really big pieces. We've got a lot to be proud of."
Jimmie Johnson led 16 laps in the third and final stage. When race front-runners, led by Truex, cycled through green-flag pit stops with just under 60 laps to go, Johnson stayed out 16 laps longer, hoping for a caution. The caution didn't come before Johnson had to pit, though, and he relinquished the lead back to Truex to pit with 40 laps remaining.
Keselowski, Larson, Elliott and Logano were second through fifth, respectively, at the end of the second stage, behind Truex.
The yellow flag waved on lap 151, nine laps prior to the end of stage two. Johnson and Kurt Busch stayed out to restart on the front row, while other lead-lap drivers pitted. When the race returned to green, Johnson and Busch dropped back, while Truex and Keselowski returned to the top two positions in the running order.
Keselowski dominated the first stage of the race after starting on the pole, but at the end of the stage, Truex was the front-runner.
When the yellow flag waved for a Kevin Harvick wreck on lap 68, all but Logano pitted. Jamie McMurray got off pit road first by taking only two tires to restart next to Logano on the front row. Truex also beat Keselowski out of the pits.
Logano fell to the back of the top 20 on his old tires when the race restarted, while Truex took the lead from McMurray. McMurray lost additional positions, dropping out of the top five by stage end.
Larson, Ryan Blaney, Keselowski and Elliott were second through fifth at the end of the opening stage.
NOTES: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. started the Kobalt 400 in the back in a backup car after crashing in practice on Saturday. ... Danica Patrick and Timmy Hill also started in the back because of unapproved changes to their cars. ... A.J. Allmendinger raced without regular crew chief Randall Burnett. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway race is the first of a three-race suspension for Burnett after the No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Racing Chevrolet had only 17 of the required 20 lug nuts properly secured at the end of the March 5 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. ... Kasey Kahne and Furniture Row Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Erik Jones were docked 15 minutes of practice time on Saturday because of issues during pre-qualifying inspection on Friday. Jones also lost pit selection privileges. ... Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch are Las Vegas natives. ... Joey Logano led over half the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at LVMS on Saturday enroute to the win. ... Ford won the first two races of the season, with Kurt Busch winning the Daytona 500 and Brad Keselowski at Atlanta. Another Ford driver, Kevin Harvick, led a combined 65 percent of the laps that made up the first two races. ... Keselowski won two of the last three Las Vegas races, heading into Sunday's event.