NASCAR at Richmond: Martin Truex Jr. earns second playoff win in a row; JGR cars sweep top four
With just 85 laps remaining in Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400, Martin Truex Jr. was spun by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and dropped in the standings.
Though he managed to drive back up through the field, the race seemed to be locked up for his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and last year’s race winner, Kyle Busch, who wound up leading 202 of the race’s 400 laps.
With 24 laps remaining, however, Truex passed Busch and then pulled away. By the end of the race, he was celebrating a 2.630-second victory over Busch and another first-place finish at Richmond Raceway. He won the Toyota Owners 400 at the track on April 13.
Truex has also now each of the first two races in NASCAR’s 2019 Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs.
Truex led 109 laps total Saturday. Brad Keselowski, who started on the pole, led the third-most laps, 89. No other driver spent time in the lead. Truex also won the first stage of the race, earning him bonus playoff points.
JGR’s Toyotas dominated the night, with Gibbs drivers Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones making it a Gibbs sweep of the top four.
The last race of the first round of the playoffs will be Saturday, Sept. 28, in Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Bank of America ROVAL 400. The playoff field will be cut from 16 to 12 after that race.
Sporting News tracked live lap-by-lap updates and highlights from the Federated Auto Parts 400. Follow along below.
Federated Auto Parts 400: 2019 winner, top 20 order of finish
NASCAR at Richmond: Updates, highlights from Federated Auto Parts 400
Caution flags: 5
Lead changes: 6
Lap leaders: Kyle Busch (202), Martin Truex Jr. (109) , Brad Keselowski (89)
10:44 p.m.: Truex wins his second straight playoff race — it’s his sixth win overall in 2019. Teammates Busch, Hamlin and Jones finished second, third and fourth, respectively. Keselowski finished fifth.
10:42 p.m.: Five more laps to go and Truex is still holding onto that lead.
10:34 p.m.: Truex retakes the lead from his teammate with 24 laps to go.
10:26 p.m.: Fewer than 50 laps to go; the top three are Busch, Truex and Hamlin. Keselowski and Newman are in fourth and fifth.
10:17 p.m.: William Byron is now the lowest-placed NASCAR playoff racer, sitting in 28th.
10:07 p.m.: Truex, the race leader, got spun by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and the caution flag is out with 85 laps to go. Busch retakes the lead.
9:57 p.m.: Busch passes Keselowski to take second place, trailing teammate Truex by 0.957 seconds with 108 laps left.
9:55 p.m.: Truex takes the lead back from Keselowski with 116 laps remaining.
9:48 p.m.: Busch passes Newman for third place with 132 laps to go.
9:45 p.m.: Keselowski holding onto the lead by 0.412 seconds over Truex. Newman has ascended to third with Busch trailing in fourth and Hamlin in fifth.
9:41 p.m.: The green flag is back out with 150 laps to go.
9:36 p.m.: A fourth caution flag goes up after Reed Sorensen hits the wall. Keselowski takes the lead out of the pit stop.
9:22 p.m.: Newman passes Jones for fifth. He has steadily been climbing positions all evening.
9:20 p.m.: The green flag goes up with 190 laps to go.
9:16 p.m.: Busch continues to dominate off pit road, winning it again against Truex.
9:12 p.m.: Busch wins his 11th stage, taking Stage 2 at Richmond. And there is now the third caution flag of the race.
Stage 2 winner: Kyle Busch
9:10 p.m.: Keselowski passes Harvick for fifth place. Rest of the top five staying put with eight laps to go in Stage 2.
9:04 p.m.: The top four is now all Joe Gibbs Racing cars. Jones is in fourth. He is followed by Harvick, Keselowski and Newman. Busch holds a 0.667-second lead over Truex.
9:01 p.m.: Ryan Newman slowly moving up the standings. He’s now in seventh place, passing Elliott.
8:57 p.m.: Things aren’t looking so good for the 88 car thus far.
8:56 p.m.: Busch has now been the leader for the most laps in this race, having been in first for 55 laps. There are 42 laps left in this stage.
8:50 p.m.: Jones has moved into fifth place past Elliott. Harvick is the only non-Joe Gibbs racer in the top five.
8:42 p.m.: Joe Gibbs Racing cars dominating the race early. Busch, Truex, Hamlin hold the top three, and Jones holding strong at No. 7.
8:39 p.m.: Busch retains his lead after the caution with Truex still in second. Hamlin is in third and Harvick is in fourth.
8:35 p.m.: The race’s second caution flag comes out for Alex Bowman.
8:34 p.m.: Just to give you an idea of how much Truex dominated that first stage:
8:30 p.m.: Kyle Busch takes the lead wins the race out of pit road. Truex is in second, Keselowski is in third, Hamlin is in fourth and Ryan Blaney is in fifth.
8:27 p.m.: The first caution flag of the race is out.
8:27 p.m.: Here’s the top-10 finish at the end of Stage 1.
Stage 1 winner: Martin Truex Jr.
8:24 p.m.: Erik Jones, who is below the cut line, moves into 10th place, passing Kurt Busch.
8:20 p.m.: Kyle Busch moves ahead of Keselowski for second place. Hamlin and Harvick and fourth and fifth, respectively. Truex is dominating with a 5.934 second lead.
8:15 p.m.: Joey Logano, sitting in 20th place, has been lapped by Truex. Keselowski is trailing Truex by 3.466 seconds.
8:14 pm.: Here’s where the first stage stands with 30 laps to go:
8:11 p.m.: Truex has clung to his lead for more than 10 laps now and is ahead of Keselowski by 1.805 seconds. Hamlin is third, Busch is fourth and Harvick is fifth.
8:07 p.m.: Truex, who won the first playoff race, has taken the lead over Keselowski at Lap 54.
8:05 p.m.: Keselowski survives lapped traffic and the race for third is now getting close between Busch and Hamlin with Hamlin holding a narrow edge at Lap 51.
8:03 p.m.: Truex passes Hamlin while Keselowski clings to his lead.
8 p.m.: Kyle Busch cracks the top five at Lap 35. He’s trailed by Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola and Jimmie Johnson.
7:57 p.m.: Hamlin is now up to second. Keselowski stays in front by 1.08 seconds.
7:55 p.m.: Hamlin keeps moving up. He’s now in third. Martin Truex Jr. is in fourth.
7:51 p.m.: Denny Hamlin passes Kyle Busch for fourth place, but Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott have stayed atop the standings. The top nine drives are all playoff drivers.
7:46 p.m.: Brad Keselowski takes the lead out of the green flag.
7:45 p.m.: Here’s all you need to know about Richmond Raceway.
7:37 p.m.: Drivers have started their engines.
7:31 p.m.: Time for the opening ceremonies in Richmond.
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