Truex on cruise con­trol in Ken­tucky

Fur­ni­ture Row Rac­ing driver posts “pretty amaz­ing” vic­tory

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Gary B. Graves Robert Laberge, Getty Images

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.

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