Stage racing favours Martin Truex Jr. The only driver to have won all three stages in a race this season, doing so at Las Vegas in March, Truex pulled off the feat again on Saturday night in Kentucky for the Quaker State 400. In doing so, he extended his series-high 13 mid-race stage victories.
Martin Truex Jr wins Quaker State 400
Early on, it looked to be a duel between Truex and polesitter Kyle Busch. In each of the first two stages, Busch jumped out to the early lead before Truex was able to claim the lead later in a run. The two drivers finished first and second in each of the first two stages.
However, Busch’s car began to falter in the last stage, while Truex mounted an insurmountable lead of more than 10 seconds over second place. Not even a late-race restart when Kurt Busch’s engine expired made a difference, as Truex was easily able to drive away from the rest of the field in the final two laps.
Truex is now tied with Jimmie Johnson for the most wins on the season with three. He trails Kyle Larson by one point in the overall standings.
Kyle Busch still has not won a race yet this season – a rare stretch for the former champion. He missed this chance at a track he usually dominates at. However, his team is getting closer to a victory so expect the wins to come soon enough. He is far enough in the points standings that he doesn’t have to worry about missing the playoff Chase if he doesn’t get a victory before then.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished a solid 12th on the night, spending most of the race in the teens in his final race at Kentucky Speedway. His chances of making the Chase in his final season are quickly running out though. He’s 21st in points and not within striking distance of 16th.
Overall, this wasn’t much of a compelling race thanks to Truex’s dominance on the night. The late caution added some intrigue but really didn’t amount to much at the end. An impressive night in an impressive season for Truex.