Truex Wins Again at Richmond, Joe Gibbs Racing Goes 1-2-3-4 Until Jones Fails Inspection

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Richmond Raceway, Richmond, VA — September 21, 2019

Stock car racing the way it should be, Saturday night under the lights. Race two of the first round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs from Richmond Raceway has the fans stoked for a short track shootout.

For the drivers hoping to advance in the postseason, they would like to get it done at Richmond and not have to wait for next weeks elimination race at the ROVAL in Charlotte. Ford Mustangs pace the field as Brad Keselowski(2) starts on the pole with Kevin Harvick(4) beside him on the front row.

Brad Keselowski starts from the pole. Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images

Last weeks winner at Las Vegas, Martin Truex Jr.(19), won here in the Spring. Even though his ticket is punched for the next round you can never have enough playoff points. Truex would love to put five more in the bank with a season sweep at Richmond.

Track Facts

The “D” shaped track is 3/4 of a mile in length, 400 laps or 300 miles make up the Federated Auto Parts 400. Kyle Busch(18) won the race last year, in fact, he accomplished the season sweep taking the spring race as well. Stages are 100/100/200 laps and the cars run in excess of 125mph.

Things happen quickly at Richmond and staying out of trouble is key for the 16 drivers vying for the 12 playoff spots in the next round. All eyes will be on the drivers close to the cut line. Clint Bowyer(14) and Erik Jones(20) likely need a win to advance. However, points in both stages and strong finish could give them a boost going into Charlotte.

8 Kyle Larson 2044 +17 5
9 William Byron 2040 +13 1
10 Ryan Blaney* 2039 +12 4
11 Alex Bowman 2037 +10 5
12 Aric Almirola* 2033 +6 1
Round 1 Cut Line
13 Ryan Newman* 2027 -6 0
14 Kurt Busch* 2019 -14 11
15 Clint Bowyer* 2012 -21 0
16 Erik Jones 2007 -26 5

*Ford Mustang Drivers

The Flag drops in as sunset colors the sky around the track. Photo Credit: Sean Gardner / Getty Images

The Start

Keselowski easily led the pack into turn one as Harvick was satisfied to settle in behind the Team Penske driver and make laps. Joey Logano(22) started 28th after a poor qualifying effort.

The start at Richmond Raceway, Photo Credit: Sean Gardner / Getty Images

The leaders began lapping traffic after just 25 laps, Logano had moved up seven positions early, but the only other playoff driver behind the #22 was William Byron(24) in 23rd. Both will have to fight to avoid being lapped in the First Stage.

Stage 1

Denny Hamlin(11) moved to second and began to close the gap on Keselowski. A few laps later, Truex appeared to have the fastest car on the track. He worked his way past Hamlin and began to close on the leader. Battling side-by-side, Truex used lapped traffic to block Keselowski and took the lead just after the halfway point of the Stage.

Martin Truex Jr. Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images

With 28 laps to go in Stage 1, Truex lapped Logano. With three laps to go to the green and white checkered flag, he passed Byron. On the final lap of the Stage, he passed Alex Bowman(88) and Ryan Blaney(12). Blaney got his lap back as the “lucky dog,” the other 3 playoff drivers will start Stage 2 a lap down.

Stage 1 Results

Car Driver Stage Points
19 Martin Truex Jr. 10
18 Kyle Busch 9
2 Brad Keselowski* 8
11 Denny Hamlin 7
4 Kevin Harvick* 6
14 Clint Bowyer* 5
95 Matt DiBenedetto 4
9 Chase Elliott 3
20 Erik Jones 2
48 Jimmie Johnson 1

* Ford Mustang Drivers

Both Bowyer and Jones picked up bonus points in Stage 1

Stage 2

The Stage ending caution brought everyone to pit road for service. Kyle Busch exited first. Followed by Truex, Keselowski, Hamlin, and Harvick. At the drop of the green, the scramble for positions had drivers going three and four wide all around the track. Bowman, Austin Dillon(3), and Byron got squeezed together with fenders pushed in on tires. Bowman and Byron both came away with smoke billowing from tire rubs.

Dillon took offense to his car being beat on and dumped Bowman with some well-placed bumper contact. The caution waved again. Logano was the first car a lap down and earned the free pass back to the lead lap. Restarts will be wild all night as drivers know they can make up spots quickly as cars are getting back up to speed.

Midway through Stage 2, Joe Gibbs Racing was dominating with Kyle Busch in the lead, Truex in 2nd, Hamlin in 3rd, and Jones in 5th. Harvick in his Mustang held the 4th spot until Jones passed with 21 to laps to go in the Stage.

Two laps later Kyle Busch put Logano back a lap down. Byron had fallen two laps behind and Bowman was three laps back.

Stage 2 Results

Car Driver Stage Points
18 Kyle Busch 10
19 Martin Truex Jr. 9
11 Denny Hamlin 8
20 Erik Jones 7
2 Brad Keselowski* 6
6 Ryan Newman* 5
4 Kevin Harvick* 4
9 Chase Elliott 3
14 Clint Bower* 2
48 Jimmie Johnson 1

* Ford Mustang Drivers

Jones has gained nine stage points, Bowyer has grabbed seven. Should they both post a Top 10 finish the points battle could be wide open heading to Charlotte.

The Final Stage

The restart for the Final Stage had Kyle Busch still in front, followed by Truex, Hamlin, and Keselowski. With the fuel window at approximately 125 laps, it is possible a green flag pit stop will have a big impact on the race. Only 18 of the 38 cars that started remain on the lead lap. Busch seems to run great in clean air, Truex begins to close as the laps mount and the tires wear.

Fast pit work puts Kyle Busch out front. Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images

Reed Sorenson(77) hit the wall on Lap 243 bringing out the caution and allowing the field to pit. Still, too many laps remain to finish with a full tank of fuel. Keselowski took the lead off pit road, followed by Kyle Busch, Truex, Hamlin, and Ryan Newman(6). Kyle Busch spun his tires on the restart, costing him two positions. Keselowski led, with Truex in 2nd and Newman 3rd.

With 118 laps to go Truex moved past Kelewoski to retake the lead. Now inside the fuel mileage window, it will be interesting to see how the pit stop strategy develops.

Trouble for the Leader

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. locked up his rear tires coming out of turn 4 and clipped the rear fender of Truex spinning out the leader. Quickly turning the car in the right direction, Truex only lost two positions and the resulting yellow flag opened the pits for all the leaders to get four fresh Goodyear tires and a full tank of Sunoco racing fuel.

Kyle Busch, Hamlin, and Truex led the field back to green. With 44 laps to go Truex moved past Hamlin to take 2nd, trailing Kyle Busch by 1.3 seconds. At the 30 laps to go mark, Truex had cut Busch’s lead to .4 seconds.

The Finish

Truex passed Busch with 25 to go and quickly built a half-second lead. He had stretched the advantage to over 2 seconds by the time the checkered flag waved. Joe Gibbs Racing finished 1-2-3-4 as Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Erik Jones followed Treux across the finish line.

Martin Truex Jr. awards young fan with the checkered flag.

Playoff Implications

Playoff drivers finished in the first nine positions. Truex win last week advanced him to the round 2 of the playoffs. Based on tonight’s results Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick advanced on points.

Erik Jones failed post-race inspection with a rear alignment issue. NASCAR penalized the Byron, Michigan driver taking away his 4th place finish and 42 points earned. Jones top 5 run had moved him to three points below the cut line after starting the race 26 points out of the last advancement position. He now sits 45 points behind and will need a win at the ROVAL to advance.

The big winners on the evening? Ryan Newman’s 5th place finish moved him from the bottom four to eight points above the cut line and Clint Bowyer who started the night 21 points out, is only four points behind the cut line after coming in 8th.

The first eight spots are almost assured of advancing, 10th to 15th will race for the final four positions that will move to the round of 12 after Charlotte.

Rank Driver Points Behind Cut Line Playoff Points
1 Martin Truex Jr. 2141 Advanced Win 41
2 Kevin Harvick 2120 Advanced Points 28
3 Kyle Busch 2117 Advanced Points 30
4 Brad Keselowski 2106 +53 24
5 Denny Hamlin 2105 +52 30
6 Joey Logano 2101 +48 29
7 Chase Elliott 2088 +35 18
8 Kyle Larson 2076 +23 5
9 Ryan Newman 2065 +12 0
10 Ryan Blaney 2059 +8 4
11 Aric Almirola 2054 +3 1
12 William Byron 2053 +2 1
Round 1 Cut Line
13 Alex Bowman 2051 -2 5
14 Clint Bowyer 2049 -4 0
15 Kurt Busch 2039 -14 11
16 Erik Jones 2008 -45 5

 

 

 

 

Results of the Federated Auto Parts 400 from Richmond Raceway

Erik Jones penalized and dropped to 38th position. All drivers finishing behind Jones advance 1 position.

Position Car Driver Behind Laps
1 19 Martin Truex Jr. (P) 400
2 18 Kyle Busch (P) 2.630 400
3 11 Denny Hamlin (P) 5.801 400
4 20 Erik Jones (P) 8.960 400
5 2 Brad Keselowski (P) 11.676 400
6 6 Ryan Newman (P) 12.513 400
7 42 Kyle Larson (P) 14.625 400
8 4 Kevin Harvick (P) 16.477 400
9 14 Clint Bowyer (P) 17.786 400
10 41 Daniel Suarez 18.361 400
11 48 Jimmie Johnson 18.789 400
12 22 Joey Logano (P) 23.391 400
13 43 Bubba Wallace 24.846 400
14 9 Chase Elliott (P) -1 399
15 95 Matt DiBenedetto -1 399
16 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -1 399
17 10 Aric Almirola (P) -1 399
18 12 Ryan Blaney (P) -1 399
19 1 Kurt Busch (P) -2 398
20 38 David Ragan -2 398
21 36 Matt Tifft -3 397
22 34 Michael McDowell -3 397
23 3 Austin Dillon -4 396
24 88 Alex Bowman (P) -4 396
25 24 William Byron (P) -4 396
26 8 Daniel Hemric -4 396
27 13 Ty Dillon -4 396
28 21 Paul Menard -5 395
29 0 Landon Cassill -5 395
30 32 Corey LaJoie -5 395
31 47 Ryan Preece -6 394
32 37 Chris Buescher -7 393
33 51 Austin Theriault -8 392
34 52 JJ Yeley -9 391
35 53 Spencer Boyd -12 388
36 27 Quin Houff -16 384
37 15 Ross Chastain -135 265
38 77 Reed Sorenson -167 233

(P) = Playoff Drivers