Martin Truex Jr. gets first short track win at Richmond Raceway

Carol D'Agostino for Skirts and Scuffs
Rain, pollen, and penalties were top of mind this weekend as Richmond Raceway hosted a twin bill of NASCAR’s two premier series – the Xfinity Series last night and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 this evening.

Mother Nature definitely had the upper hand on the weather and the pollen, but when it came to penalties, especially penalties due to pre-race tech inspections, NASCAR definitely was calling the shots. A total of seven teams failed inspections prior to this evening’s race, sending Erik Jones, Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez, Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Tifft to the back of the field and moving Kurt Busch to the front row.

But as the laps ticked off, the Richmond elites made their way to the front of field for a race that starred Penske and Gibbs drivers with Kevin Harvick spoiling the party, leading a total of 30 laps. Kyle Busch led 101 laps after starting in fourth. He won Stage One and then was penalized for speeding on pit road and had to work his way back from the 24th position. He finished the race in eighth place. Joey Logano won Stage 2, led a total of 52 laps and finished in second. His teammate Brad Keselowski lead 31 laps and finished in seventh place.

When the checkered flew, it was Martin Truex Jr. who held off a late-race charge by Joey Logano and drove the No. 19 Auto Owners Insurance Toyota into Victory Lane. This was Truex Jr.’s first short track win, his first win and 10th top-10 finish in 27 races at Richmond Raceway and his 20th victory in 486 Monster Energy Cup Series starts. This is his first win and sixth top-10 finish this year and his first win with Joe Gibbs Racing. Truex Jr. led the most laps with 186.

Maintaining track position and not making mistakes was important for Truex Jr.

“Being out front was really the key, and just trying to do all I could to not screw up and hold those guys off, but it was definitely really, really difficult,” Truex Jr. said in Victory Lane. “It feels really good to get the win. Tonight things came out the way we needed it to. We didn’t have the best car, but it worked out for us,” he said.

Martin Truex Jr. gets first short track win at Richmond Raceway Martin Truex Jr. gets first short track win at Richmond Raceway Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Sunday, April 14, 2019 Rating: 5