After prior misses, Truex earns a strike with Go Bowling 400 win at Kansas

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Martin Truex Jr.’s win in Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway was a means to an end.

After meaning to win – and coming close several times to actually doing so – at the 1.5-mile track over the last few years, Truex finally sealed the deal. He led a race-high 104 of 267 laps – including the final 19 laps – to earn his second win of 2017.

In a way, it was vindication for falling short at Kansas one year ago in the spring race, where he dominated by leading a race-high 172 laps and appeared headed to a win – only to endure a broken bolt that forced him back to pit road and end up 14th.

Saturday night’s win under the lights marked the fifth time Truex has finished in the top-5 at Kansas, including runner-up finishes in both 2012 races, as well as fourth-place finishes in spring 2013 and fall 2014.

But all that – in addition to last year’s disappointing finish – is all in the past. He’s finally kicked the Kansas curse.

“I can’t even tell you,” Truex said when asked how he felt after the win. “It feels amazing to be here. It’s been a long time coming to this racetrack for sure.

“The close calls, the laps led, the heartbreaks that we’ve been through here.  Definitely proud tonight to finally cross that checkered flag first and bring it home for the guys.”

To finally win at a place that had vexed him so many times – some might even call it being robbed for coming up short in several instances – was yet another reason Truex said Saturday’s win was more meaningful than some of his other NASCAR Cup triumphs.

It does, I’m not going to lie to you,” he said. “You know, as a racer, you don’t forget.  You don’t forget those days that ones got away or you screwed up and gave one away or anything like that.

“You never forget those things. They always stick with you. Definitely last year was probably the biggest heart breaker to have the craziest thing happen that you could ever imagine, an eight-second lead just gone and … it was so heartbreaking.

“It’s definitely sweet redemption tonight. Definitely feels good to be here, and I feel like it’s been a long time coming, and we definitely earned it, that’s for sure.”

But for a few moments late in the race, Truex wondered if maybe the win would once again be taken away from him by none other than his teammate, Erik Jones.

Jones spun on Lap 260 – seven laps from the scheduled finish – after making contact with Ty Dillon’s Chevrolet. While Truex maintained the lead on the ensuing restart and held on for the final two laps, he wondered if Jones’ spin would be yet another downfall for himself at Kansas.

Yeah, I’m like, damn, Erik, come on now, your teammate is leading the race, don’t be causing cautions,” Truex said. “I’ve been in that boat before. Lucky for Erik, I didn’t screw up the last couple restarts.”

But no matter what, Truex – who remains in second place in the NASCAR Cup standings behind Kyle Larson after his win in Kansas – was a man bound and determined to avenge the past and finally achieve his destiny at a track that vexed him almost as much as the Wizard of Oz vexed Dorothy.

“You know, tonight we did everything right,” Truex said. “When the pressure was on, when the money was on the line, we made the right moves, and everything worked out.”

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Today’s Xfinity race at Charlotte: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
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After two weekends off, the Xfinity Series is back in action today at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Elliott Sadler enters as the points leader with a 29-point advantage on JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier. William Byron, who also drives for JR. Motorsports, is third in the standings. Byron and Sadler are going for their first victory of the season, while Allgaier seeks his second win this year.

Here are the particulars for today’s Xfinity race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The Evil Genius’ Halo ESports Team will give the command for drivers to start engines at 1:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 1:18 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 200 laps (300 miles) around the 1.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Xfinity garage opens at 6:30 a.m. The drivers meeting is at 11:15 a.m. Driver introductions are at 12:30 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Star Swain will perform the Anthem at 1:01 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race at 1 p.m. Its coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network will broadcast the race on radio and at gorpn.com. PRN’s coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts 85 degrees at race time with a 15 percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Denny Hamlin led 76 laps to win this even a year ago. Austin Dillon was second and Joey Logano third. Logano led the final 12 laps to win at Charlotte in October. Elliott Sadler was second and Daniel Suarez was third.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying is at 10:05 a.m.

Today’s schedule at Charlotte: Cup practice, Xfinity qualifying and race

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NASCAR goes racing today with the Hisense 4K TV 300 Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Denny Hamlin won this race last year.

Here is today’s track schedule, as the countdown to Sunday’s main event of the weekend, the Coca-Cola 600, ticks closer:

(All times Eastern)

6:30 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Cup garage open

9 – 9:55 a.m. – Cup practice (FS1)

10:05 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying (multi-vehicle, three rounds) (FS1)

11:15 a.m. – Xfinity driver/crew chief meeting

11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. – Cup final practice (FS1)

12:30 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

1 p.m. – Xfinity Hisense 4K TV 300 (200 laps, 300 miles) (FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

My Home Track: North Carolina’s Caraway Speedway (video)

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Sure, NASCAR is synonymous with Daytona Beach, the state of Florida and Daytona International Speedway.

But there is no other state that is so linked to NASCAR than the Tar Heel state, North Carolina.

Numerous racetracks, from the smallest grassroots short track to Charlotte Motor Speedway dot the state, offering a plethora of race action from amateur all the way to the best of the best.

On Friday’s My Home Track: 50 States in 50 Shows segment, NASCAR America’s Kyle Petty shared some of his fondest memories of one of his favorite short tracks, Caraway Speedway.

Check out the video above.

NASCAR America: Steve Letarte reflects on mentor Ray Evernham’s Hall of Fame selection

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Steve Letarte learned the sport of NASCAR from a number of different individuals.

But no one compares to Letarte’s greatest mentor, Ray Evernham, who was selected earlier this week as one of five individuals that will enter the NASCAR Hall of Fame in its 2018 class.

Evernham, who led Jeff Gordon to three of his four NASCAR Cup championships as Gordon’s crew chief, was not only an innovator in the sport, but also a leader, mentor and team owner.

On Friday’s NASCAR America, Letarte, an Evernham protege, discussed what made his former boss, teacher and close friend so special.  Check out the video above.