Martin Truex Jr. of Den­ver-based Fur­ni­ture Row Rac­ing re­turns to Victory Lane.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Gary B. Graves

SPARTA, KY.» Martin Truex Jr. was dom­i­nant through­out and had enough left on a fi­nal restart to win the NASCAR Cup race Satur­day night at Ken­tucky Speed­way.

Sec­ond in points en­ter­ing the 400-mile event, Truex started sec­ond be­side Kyle Busch and won the first two stages. Truex led the fi­nal seg­ment by as many as 15 sec­onds be­fore a fi­nal cau­tion cre­ated over­time and bunched the field to­gether.

That made no dif­fer­ence as Truex flew past Busch on the restart and went on to post his third victory of the sea­son and 10th of his ca­reer. He led five times for 152-of-274 laps in the No. 78 Toy­ota of Den­ver-based Fur­ni­ture Row Rac­ing to draw within a point of stand­ings leader Kyle Lar­son, who fin­ished sec­ond in a Chevy.

Chase El­liott was third in a Chevy, fol­lowed by Denny Ham­lin and Busch — each in a Toy­ota. Busch led 112 laps but fell short of his third Ken­tucky victory.

Then again, Truex wasn’t in­clined to let any­one get close in earn­ing his first Ken­tucky tri­umph.

Busch, the pole­sit­ter, pounced right away and led the first 66 laps but often had Truex close by in the bat­tle of Toy­otas. Truex twice found the speed to make timely passes and ul­ti­mately took the first two stages, but he saved his best for the last seg­ment.

Run­ning sev­enth as the third stage be­gan, Truex was back in front within sev­eral laps and merely got stronger as he went along. He had a 13-sec­ond lead with about 55 laps remaining and was run­ning all alone be­fore Kurt Busch blew an en­gine with two laps left to cre­ate ex­tra time. It didn’t mat­ter.

Truex’s dom­i­nance stole the spot­light from Kyle Busch, who won the Xfin­ity Se­ries race ear­lier Satur­day and for a while ap­peared headed to­ward NASCAR’S first same-day sweep of the two se­ries. But Ken­tucky’s most dom­i­nant driver — and every­body else — couldn’t come close to beat­ing Truex.

Lar­son’s fin­ish was im­pres­sive con­sid­er­ing he started 40th after fail­ing in­spec­tion on Fri­day. He soon was among the con­tenders be­fore be­ing pe­nal­ized for speed­ing on pit road, over­com­ing that set­back to pass Kyle Busch after the fi­nal restart.

Long­time star Dale Earn­hardt Jr. led three laps and fin­ished 12th, one spot higher than he started in his fi­nal Ken­tucky race.

Erik Jones, Truex’s FRR team­mate, fin­ished sixth.

Robert Laberge, Getty Images

Martin Truex Jr. of Den­ver-based Fur­ni­ture Row Rac­ing cel­e­brates with a burnout Satur­day night after win­ning the 400-mile NASCAR Cup race at Ken­tucky Speed­way in Sparta. Truex has three vic­to­ries this year and 10 in his ca­reer.

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