The Jersey Boy has done it again. Martin Truex Jr. a determined race driver powered his way to victory at the Kansas Speedway on Sunday. The Monster Energy Cup Series Playoffs has been dwindled down from 12 drivers to eight for the championship.
Truex in the black No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota led 91 of 267 laps to achieve his seventh victory of the season, fourteenth of his career and second playoff win. Truex rallied after having a 4.0 second lead in Stage 1 being nullified from a restart violation penalty and an unscheduled pit stop for a loose tire to notch the victory later in the race.
Kurt Busch finished second 2.284 seconds behind as he crossed the finish line for a very solid performance. Meanwhile, playoff contenders Ryan Blaney third, Chase Elliott in fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth round off the top five. In sixth was Chris Buescher, seventh Dale Earnhardt, Jr., eighth Kevin Harvick, ninth Aric Almirola and tenth Stage 1 winner Kyle Busch. Hamlin was the Stage 2 victor in Sunday’s race.
The four drivers who are no longer in contention for the championship and were knocked out based on their three-race round performance were Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were all eliminated.
The race drivers remaining are Hamlin, Elliott, Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson. Automatic berths went to Truex and Brad Keselowski based on their wins at Charlotte (Truex) and Talladega (Keselowski) earlier in the round working toward the championship.
All four of the drivers who were eliminated became involved in caution flag incidents, including a 13-car wreck and pileup on Lap 197 that ended the day of racing for both Matt Kenseth and McMurray. Matt was able to continue but was penalized in pit road for having too many crew members over the pit wall while his car was on the crash clock. He finished the race in 37th place. While McMurray ended up in 34th position.
Larson experienced engine failure and completed only 73 laps with a 39th place finish and Stenhouse slid along the wall on Turn 3 on Lap 174 that damaged his vehicle and he fell back finishing in 29th place 10 laps off the leaders pace.
Jimmie Johnson remained in contention because he performed some nifty driving as he maneuvered his way through the multi-car wreck and finished in 11th place.
Next week NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Playoffs will move to Martinsville Speedway on Sunday October 29th at 3:00 pm eastern time for the First Data 500.