Martin Truex Jr. wins Federated Auto Parts 400; JGR "almost" takes 1, 2, 3 and 4

 Carol D'Agostino for Skirtsandscuffs.com
The pole position was looking pretty sporty for Brad Keselowski in the opening laps of the 62nd Annual Federated Auto Parts 400. In fact, Keselowski held onto the lead until lap 54 when the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 car of Martin Truex Jr. took the lead. From that point on the JGR team gave the field a primer on racing at Richmond Raceway.

Truex Jr. won Stage 1, but was beat off pit road by his teammate Kyle Busch who led the most laps with 202 and also won Stage 2 – his 11th stage win this season. For most of the race JGR teammates were placed in the top five or six, with Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin often running one, two and three.

At Lap 260 after the caution for an incident in Turn 2 for the No. 77 of Reed Sorenson, Brad Keselowski’s pit crew came through and enabled him to regain the lead. Truex Jr. battled back and took the lead at Lap 282.

Truex Jr. set sail until Lap 316 when Ricky Stenhouse Jr., on fresh tires, came in hot locked up his front brakes and spun Truex Jr. “Luckily I didn't hit anything,” Truex Jr. said. “I just tried to keep it off the fence, tried to get spun around and get going. Because we were pretty far up front, we got going in a pretty good spot and left pit road in a good position and then good adjustments at the end again by Cole and James and the guys,” he added.

Kyle Busch took the lead after the 19’s spin, but remarkably Truex only lost two spots. He regained the lead from Busch at Lap 375. After the race Truex Jr. seemed confident and amazed by the results. “Next thing you know, I’m catching the 18 for the lead. I'm like, cool, all right, here we go.”

Twenty-five laps later, Martin Truex Jr. took the win for the second consecutive week, followed by his teammates Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones. Unfortunately, the No. 20 car of Erik Jones failed post-race inspection, foiling what would have been a historic one, two, three, four finish for the Joe Gibbs Racing team. Jones' fourth place finish was disqualified and the No. 20 will be scored in last place. This is the first disqualification this season and puts Jones in a must-win situation next weekend at Charlotte. 

Truex Jr. swept the Richmond races this year. This is his 25th victory in the Monster Energy Cup Series, and his sixth victory and 17th Top 10 finish in 2019.

Despite the benchmarks hit this evening, Truex Jr. isn’t taking anything for granted. “We try not to get too caught up in it. We'll enjoy it tonight and tomorrow, there's no question. But Monday it's back to work trying to look forward to the Roval and do the things we need to do to go to Homestead,” he said.
Martin Truex Jr. wins Federated Auto Parts 400; JGR "almost" takes 1, 2, 3 and 4 Martin Truex Jr. wins Federated Auto Parts 400; JGR "almost" takes 1, 2, 3 and 4  Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Sunday, September 22, 2019 Rating: 5

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