Truex, Lar­son again lead­ing pack

USA TODAY US Edition - - SPORTS - Mike Hem­bree

NASCAR’s play­offs are likely to bring Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Lar­son to­gether again — and again — at or near the front of a tal­ented 16-driver field.

Truex and Lar­son were the prin­ci­pals in the clos­ing laps of last week’s Mon­ster En­ergy NASCAR Cup Se­ries reg­u­larsea­son fi­nale at Rich­mond Race­way, and it won’t be shock­ing if they’re front and cen­ter in Sun­day’s play­off opener at Chicagoland Speed­way.

Truex, a vet­eran, and Lar­son, one of the “young guns” in the play­offs, were the sport’s big names across the spread of the 26-race reg­u­lar sea­son. Both won four races, lead­ing the se­ries in that cat­e­gory, and both raced up front con­sis­tently.

Truex tops the laps-led list for the sea­son with 1,646, and Lar­son is third with 971, be­hind Kyle Busch.

Truex was poised to score his fifth win last week be­fore a con­tro­ver­sial late-race cau­tion flag brought driv­ers to pit road. Lar­son’s team re­turned his car to the track first, and he rolled to his first short-track win.

TI­MOTHY T. LUD­WIG, USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Martin Truex Jr. en­ters the play­offs as the top seed.

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