Truex on cruise control in Kentucky
Furniture Row Racing driver posts “pretty amazing” victory
SPARTA, KY.» Martin Truex Jr. boldly declared his Toyota the best car he had ever raced, and several statistics make it hard to dispute him.
There also was plenty of visual evidence of how close to perfect his Saturday night went when he won the NASCAR Cup race at Kentucky Speedway on a final restart.
“It was big to do what we did,” Truex said. “I can never recall saving fuel and pulling away from everybody before, so it was pretty amazing.”
Truex started second beside Kyle Busch and won the first two stages. He was second in the points standings entering the race.
Truex led the final segment by as many as 15 seconds before a final caution created overtime and bunched the field together.
Truex got a push 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 and swept all three stages in the No. 78 Toyota of Denver-based Furniture Row Racing to earn 60 points, including seven playoff points, and draw within one of standings leader Kyle Larson, who finished second in a Chevy.
Truex’s dominant performance Saturday wasn’t the only reason he was smiling. He was eager to get back and bring his girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, home after a medical procedure. Pollex has battled ovarian cancer, and she tweeted Saturday that there had been a recurrence requiring surgery.
“Everything went perfectly good, went as planned,” Truex said. “I’m bringing her home, so I’m excited to see her and everything’s going great. She was pretty excited.”
Chase Elliott finished third in a Chevy — followed by Denny Hamlin and Busch, each in a Toyota. Busch led 112 laps, but the polesitter fell short of posting his third Kentucky victory.
Then again, Truex wasn’t inclined to let anyone get close while earning his first Kentucky triumph.
Busch pounced right away and led the first 66 laps but often had Truex close by in a battle of Toyotas. Truex twice found the speed to make timely passes and ultimately captured the first two stages, but he saved his best for the last segment.