Truex dom­i­nates Dover; wins third race in last five

Busch, El­liott, Ke­selowski, Kenseth fol­low; Ste­wart elim­i­nated

Record Observer - - Sports - By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­pub.com

DOVER — Martin Truex Jr.’s dream sea­son con­tin­ued at Dover In­ter­na­tional Speedway Sun­day by win­ning the Sprint Cup Se­ries Cit­i­zen Soldier 400 in dom­i­nat­ing fash­ion.

The win marks Truex’s third in five races and fourth over­all this sea­son. He started sec­ond and led 187 laps for his sec­ond ca­reer win at the Mon­ster Mile. He took the check­ered flag 7.527 sec­onds ahead of sec­ond place Kyle Busch. Chase El­liott scored his sec­ond con­sec­u­tive third at Dover, pole-sit­ter Brad Ke­selowski came in fourth and spring Dover win­ner Matt Kenseth rounded out the top 5.

Truex, along with Kyle Busch, El­liott, Ke­selowski, Kenseth, Kevin Har­vick, Joey Logano, Brad Ke­selowski, Kurt Busch, Denny Ham­lin, Carl Ed­wards, Jim­mie John­son and Austin Dil­lon ad­vanced to the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Chase. Tony Ste­wart, Kyle Lar­son, Jamie McMurray and Chris Buescher were elim­i­nated from The Chase.

“What an awe­some week­end for us,” said Truex, who won his first ca­reer race at Dover in 2007. “I talked about it in here the other day, that this track has al­ways been spe­cial to me. I love this place.

“I’ve had a lot of heart­breaks since my first win here back in ‘07,” Truex added. “I’ve led a lot of laps. I’ve been in po­si­tion to win mul­ti­ple times, and it never seemed to work out for mul­ti­ple rea­sons.

“To­day, I’m just thank­ful to have a great team, to have been able to lead lap 400 and get back to vic­tory lane at a track that’s so spe­cial to me,” Truex con­tin­ued.

Truex started on the out­side pole and took his first turn out front on the sixth lap by pass­ing Ke­selowski. He would lead 15 laps be­fore re­lin­quish­ing the point to Kyle Busch, who led un­til the first cau­tion at lap 35.

Kyle Busch main­tained his lead af­ter pit stops, and paced 69 laps un­til the sec­ond cau­tion on lap 106. Once again the M&M’s crew got Kyle Busch off pit row in first dur­ing the cau­tion.

He would lead for 18 more laps un­til Truex pow­ered by the No. 18 car on lap 125. Truex would lead to the next cau­tion on lap 183. Dur­ing the run, 10time Dover win­ner John­son con­tin­ued to close on Truex.

The Fur­ni­ture Row crew got Truex off pit row in first dur­ing the cau­tion, but John­son pow­ered his way into the lead when the field went back to green on lap 189.

John­son and Truex would pace the field, ex­tend­ing their lead over third to more than five sec­onds, but the two lead­ers stayed in con­tact dur­ing the green-flag run.

The com­plex­ion of the race changed when lead­ers pit­ted on lap 277 un­der green. John­son was pe­nal­ized when a crew mem­ber stepped off the pit wall too soon, which is a pass-through penalty. John­son fell off the lead lap and Truex was in clear sail­ing from sec­ond place Kyle Busch.

With no cau­tions over the fi­nal 202 laps, Truex cruised to more than a 10-sec­ond lead over Kyle Busch be­fore tak­ing the vic­tor y.

The only bat­tle in the top 5 af­ter half­way came be­tween El­liott, Ke­selowski and Kenseth.

El­liott started ninth and ran in­side the top 10 all race. He moved up to sixth at the half­way point, then drove by Kenseth for fifth. Af­ter John­son’s penalty, El­liott moved into fourth and be­gan catch­ing Ke­ses­lowski. A fast stop by the 24 crew with about 50 laps to go got El­liott ahead of Ke­selowski for third.

Chip Ganassi driv­ers Kyle Lar­son and Jamie McMurray did not fare well in the first Chase elim­i­na­tion race.

Lar­son started 12th and moved into the top 10 be­fore the race’s first cau­tion. But af­ter his first pit stop un­der the cau­tion, his car lost power and had to pit again. When the green flag flew, Lar­son came out of the pits in front of leader Kyle Busch, but had to pit a third time, los­ing three laps.

His chances of ad­vanc­ing in The Chase all but ended on lap 183 when he slapped the wall. He fin­ished 25th.

Lar­son’s team­mate McMurray be­gan ex­pe­ri­ence en­gine trou­ble af­ter about 150 laps. He dropped two cylin­ders, then his en­gine blew, end­ing his day in last place on lap 192.

The Sprint Cup Se­ries be­gins the next round of The Chase Satur­day at Char­lotte Mo­tor Speedway. Truex started on the pole in May’s Coca Cola 600 and lead 392 of 400 laps en route to his first vic­tory of the sea­son. Fol­low Caro­line/ Dorch­ester Ed­i­tor Dustin Holt on Twit­ter

@Dustin_S­tarDem.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Martin Truex Jr. does a burnout af­ter win­ning the Cit­i­zen Soldier 400 at Dover In­ter­na­tional Speedway Sun­day, Oct. 2.

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