Martin Truex Jr. wins Kansas in shootout for second victory of year

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Martin Truex Jr. held his own in a two-lap dash to the finish to win the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway.

After chasing down and passing Ryan Blaney with 33 to go, Truex had to fend off the field on three late restarts.

Finally, Truex outran Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Blaney to claim his second victory of 2017.

“These races are so hard to win, any of those restarts I could’ve gotten beat on,” Truex told Fox Sports 1. “Something could have happened. You just never know.”

UPDATE: Aric Almirola to be kept overnight in hospital after crash

The No. 78 Toyota started third and led six times for a race-high 104 laps. The car Truex took to Victory Lane was the same one he won with last year in the Southern 500.

“It felt like if I could get out front on those restarts I’d be fine,” Truex said. “If I came out second or third after a lap or two, it took me a long time to get good enough to pass those guys. I knew I had to go, I knew I had to make it happen.”

It’s the ninth career Cup Series win for Truex and it comes at the track closest to Furniture Row Racing’s headquarters in Denver, Colorado.

Truex joins Jimmie Johnson and Keselowski as the third repeat winner of the season.

Stage 1 winner: Kyle Busch

Stage 2: winner: Ryan Blaney

MORE: Race results

MORE: Truex takes lead in points

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Blaney led 82 laps and finished fourth for best finish since running second in the Daytona 500 … Rookie Daniel Suarez finished seventh, tying his career best result (Phoenix, Auto Club) … Jamie McMurray finished eighth for his seventh top 10 of the season .. Kansas native Clint Bowyer came from the rear to finish ninth.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Landon Cassill brought out cautions on Lap 30 and 50 for getting into the wall. He finished 21st … Chase Elliott finished 29th, nine laps down after a pit road accident with Michael McDowell during the second caution period … With 86 to go, a violent three-car accident occurred between Joey Logano, Danica Patrick and Aric Almirola and caused a red flag. Almirola was placed on a backboard after being removed from his car and transported to a local hospital.

Erik Jones brought out three cautions for accidents, the last coming with eight laps left. He finished 22nd. … After being penalized on pit road and losing a tire mid race, Jimmie Johnson was fifth on a Lap 263 restart when contact with Kurt Busch sent him sliding onto the apron. He finished 24th.

Quote of the Night: “It was nice to show our muscle this weekend and prove that, like I said, this is where the 21 team deserves to be”  – Ryan Blaney after finishing fourth.

WHAT’S NEXT: Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on May 20 on Fox Sports 1.

NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 79: Jason Weigandt on Supercross, Monster and Jimmie Johnson

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Motocross journalist and broadcaster Jason Weigandt joined the NASCAR on NBC podcast to discuss the Supercross finale and the start of Outdoor season.

Weigandt, the editor of Racer X online magazine, also discussed how Monster Energy’s new title sponsorship of NASCAR has been perceived in Supercross, which the company has backed since 2008, and why he believes Jimmie Johnson isn’t NASCAR’s most popular driver despite his success.

Weigandt is the play-by-play announcer for the 2017 motocross season, which will be shown on NBCSN as well as on the NBC Sports Gold package (which will offer all motos, qualifiers and practices for the 12-round season as well as on-demand access to the past two seasons).

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone.

It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.

 

NASCAR America: 50 States in 50 Shows: North Dakota

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Today’s edition of “50 States in 50 Shows” profiles Nodak Speedway in Minot, North Dakota.

The 3/8-mile dirt track is located 110 miles north of Bismarck and is located on the grounds of the North Dakota State Fair.

Watch the video for the full look Nodak Speedway.

 

NASCAR America: Austin Dillon: Feels good to beat Jimmie Johnson in ‘chess match’

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Following the first win of his NASCAR Cup Series career, Austin Dillon said he was proud of his team for coming out on top in a “chess match” against Jimmie Johnson.

“We’re chasing down what I consider ‘The GOAT’ (Greatest of All Time),” Dillon told NBC Sports’ Dave Burns. “Jimmie’s tied with the best of the best. To beat him in a little chess match there at the end, it feels real good. At a track I’ve seen him win multiple races sitting in the stands.”

Dillon was able to make his last tank of gas stretch 70 laps, two more than Johnson, on his way to winning the Coca-Cola 600.

The win comes at a track Dillon has competed on since the early days of his career.

“I grew up racing in the 1/5-mile here, Bandeleros and Legends cars, to get my first win here, there’s nothing better,” Dillon said.

Watch the video for the full interview and to hear Richard Childress’ thoughts on the win.

Something finally goes right for Erik Jones in first Coca-Cola 600

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Image
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CONCORD, N.C. — For the first time since March, fortune finally bounced in Erik Jones‘ favor.

That was after a piece of debris bounced through his grille.

On Lap 20 of the Coca-Cola 600, debris from a wreck between Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski littered the frontstretch of Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Jones, running in the top 10, managed to avoid the wreck itself. But the rookie couldn’t avoid whatever caused a football-sized hole in the nose of his No. 77 Toyota.

“You start the day off like that and you’re like, ‘Man, it’s not going to be easy,'” said Jones, who finished a career best seventh. “That kind of hurt us all day, I think. Not a ton. Obviously we had still had a fast car, but it was definitely slowing us down some.”

Competing in the longest race of his career to date, the episode looked like the latest in a series of misfortunes that have plagued the driver, who turns 21 on Tuesday.

Jones entered the race with two DNFs in the last three points races and three DNFs if you counted the previous weekend’s All-Star Race.

Before the All-Star Race, Jones caused three cautions at Kansas Speedway for spins before finishing 22nd. He wrecked out at Talladega in a big crash and the week before that was eliminated at Richmond when the race was five laps old.

Entering the longest race of the year, Jones had just one top-10 finish, eighth at Phoenix.

Following the accident Sunday, Jones restarted 27th. The rest of the night was “smooth” on the way to his best finish in 15 Cup starts.

“I think we had a top-five car,” Jones said. “Kind of missed on a couple of adjustments at the end, got behind on the racecar a little bit. Just kind of fell back at the end.”

By the halfway point at Lap 200 and after a 1 hour and 39 minute rain delay, he was in eighth. During the 400-lap race, his average running spot was 11.8.

“We didn’t have any troubles in the pits,” Jones said. “We didn’t have any troubles on the track (after the Lap 20 accident), we had a pretty good car all night. So it was just nice to have a solid night. I feel like we’re plenty capable of running in the top 10 every week, we just got to keep having days and night like this.”

Jones is now 18th in the points standings and 10 points ahead of fellow rookie Daniel Suarez.

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