Truex cruises to Stage 1 win at Richmond
Martin Truex Jr., looking for his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series playoff win, took the Stage 1 win at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.
Truex led 47 of the 100 laps and easily held off Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch by more than three seconds at the finish.
Brad Keselowski ended up third, Denny Hamlin was fourth and Kevin Harvick was fifth.
Keselowski, who started on the pole, ran out to an early advantage and after the first 20 laps he held a steady half-a-second lead over Harvick as Chase Elliott continued to run in third.
On Lap 22, Hamlin made his way around Elliott to take the third spot.
Hamlin went to the inside of Harvick and claimed the second position on Lap 29 as Harvick dropped to third.
With 60 laps remaining in the first stage, Keselowski was working furiously to hold off Hamlin while Truex had moved to third. Harvick was fourth and Kyle Busch ran fifth.
On Lap 45, Truex ran down and passed Hamlin in Turn 4 to move into the second position.
Truex went inside of a lapped car and passed Keselowski for the lead off Turn 2 on Lap 53.
After 60 laps, Truex had moved out to a 1.3-second lead over Keselowski as Hamlin ran third. Kyle Busch was fourth and Harvick fifth.
With 30 to go before the end of the stage, Truex’s lead over Keselowski had expanded to 2.4 seconds as Kyle Busch moved into third.
On Lap 72, Truex passed playoff contender Joey Logano and put him a lap down.
Kyle Busch passed Keselowski for second in Turn 3 of Lap 83.
With 10 laps remaining in the stage, Truex maintained a 4.9-second lead over Kyle Busch as Keselowski remained in third.
Bubba Wallace and J.J. Yeley both had to start the race from the rear of the field after both failed pre-race inspection on Saturday. Quin Houff also started from the rear for unapproved adjustments.
Keselowski tops Harvick for Richmond Cup pole
Kyle Busch wins Stage 2 at Richmond; JGR sweeps top four