Saturday, 23 September, 2017

Truex Jr. wins race marred by scary wreck

Martin Truex Jr Martin Truex Jr. Jonathan Ferrey Getty Images
Rita Gibson | 20 May, 2017, 01:14

"Finally", shouted Martin Truex Jr on his radio after taking the checkered flag to capture the Go Bowling 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway.

The closing laps tested Truex's resolve. Ryan Blaney started on the pole and looked dominant most of the night.

Truex, who owns nine career Cup victories, battled for the lead throughout the night with pole-sitter Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney, who won the first and second stages and took the lead with 19 laps remaining.

He's just 44 points behind Kyle Larson in the standings, and he joined Johnson and Brad Keselowski as the only drivers with multiple wins this season.

"That's one of the worst ones to swallow right there", Busch said. His Wood Brothers Racing Ford was particularly strong on short runs, an advantage on a night that featured 15 cautions, which tied the track record. Appreciate all the fans. "They're all big. I've been fortunate so far". Seven of his Cup victories have been with the Denver-based Furniture Row Racing team. There was a sobering aspect, too.

"Kansas has been good and bad for us over the years - we led a lot of laps here but haven't had a win yet so hopefully that blue Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota will bring us some luck".

Patrick's auto erupted in flames, and she and Logano rode the outside wall until, a moment later, Aric Almirola's No. 43 Ford barreled into the wreck. Almirola, though, was cut from his vehicle and placed on a stretcher to be transported to the care center. They placed Almirola on a backboard and rolled him to a waiting ambulance on a gurney. He was later airlifted to the Kansas University Medical Center.

Logano, watching the replay for the first time on television, was visibly shaken after seeing the impact.

Patrick quickly hopped from her burning auto and Logano was able to exit as well, but emergency workers had to cut away part of the roof and the roll cage on Almirola's No. 43 Smithfield Ford to extract him from the crumpled heap of metal. "That was good. We had a really great Freightliner Elite Support Ford; just kept getting caught in adversity, there". Something broke on my auto.

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"A lot of cars didn't get a chance to go out, and a lot of cars had trouble", Johnson said. "I noticed it as I was trying to go in".

That left just 28 cars for Blaney to beat for the right to start up front.

"The right front hopped or something and it took a hard left". "That's the last thing you want to see". It's unfortunate for everyone. "Let's hope that Aric is alright". Logano and Patrick were not injured in the accident... "We expected to do really well here". "I don't know what I could have done".

"Toward the end we made some runs and made the most of it".

"It was nice to show our muscle this weekend and prove that, like I said, this is where the 21 team deserves to be, so it's just nice to get back on track", Blaney said. "It seems like every time things are going better and something happens, I get crashed or am in a crash". Keselowski, Harvick and Blaney went three-wide with Keselowski on the high side, and he made the move stick to finish second.

However, Blaney lined up second (on the inside) to Erik Jones, who opted to stay out on older tires.

But Truex got a huge launch to the outside of the polesitter and quickly pulled ahead. They will start at the back of the field tonight.

On the restart, Truex blew past Blaney and never gave the lead back. "I hate that I'm the part of it that started it". It kind of stinks. Race distance: 400.5 miles, 267 laps. "It stinks we finished second and still lost points, because we didn't get those stage points".

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