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Martin Truex Jr. captures opening stage at Sonoma Raceway, 11th stage victory of year

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Martin Truex Jr. led eight laps, including the final three, to win Stage 1 of the NASCAR Cup race at Sonoma Raceway.

It is his 11th stage win of the season, which leads all drivers. He’s won the first stage in three of the last four races.

After a flurry of pit stops in the final laps of the stage, the top 10 were Truex, AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer.

Daniel Suarez pitted on Lap 3 after he flat-spotted his tires entering Turn 11. The same happened to Kyle Busch, who pitted on Lap 6. Busch was in 32nd to start the second stage after being called for a speeding penalty on his second pit stop.

The first caution occurred on Lap 14. Dale Earnhardt Jr., running in seventh behind Danica Patrick, attempted to pass Patrick as they approached Turn 11. He then lost control, sending his No. 88 Chevrolet sliding through the apron.

He slid back onto the course where Patrick ran into his right side. Earnhardt also clipped Larson.

Both continued on. Earnhardt finished the stage in 36th and Patrick in 37th.

The second stage is 25 laps and the final stage will be 60 laps.

NASCAR America: Looking back at Cup winners this year (video)

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The NASCAR Cup Series is through 19 racers. There are 17 more races to be contested, including seven before the Cup playoffs.

It’s been a rough time for many and a successful time for a select few.

There’s still plenty of racing to go. Who will see their name added to the list of winners in 2017 and, more importantly, who still wins a race to make it in the playoffs?

Check out the video above.

NASCAR America: Can Team Penske get back on track in Indianapolis? (video)

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Roger Penske is used to winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He owns a record 16 Indy 500 victories there.

But Penske still has yet to win a Brickyard 400 at IMS. While in other years, Team Penske’s chances may have been stronger, coming into the 2017 Brickyard 400 is a whole other ballgame.

Joey Logano has struggled terribly in the last 10 races. Since winning at Richmond (which was eventually encumbered due to a post-race inspection penalty), Logano has had seven finishes of 21st through 37th. He’s also dropped from fifth to 13th in the standings.

Teammate Brad Keselowski has had his own struggles, dropping from third to eighth in the standings.

The biggest problem that seems to be impacting Team Penske is a lack of speed, more so on Logano’s car, but an issue nonetheless for both cars.

Can Team Penske snap out of its funk and find the speed it’s been missing Sunday, and potentially give Captain Penske his first NASCAR Cup win at the track that means so much to him?

Check out the video above.

NASCAR America: Kyle Busch needs to be aware of Martin Truex Jr. at Brickyard (video)

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Kyle Busch is well aware of his wins drought, not having won in his last 36 Cup starts.

But he also gains confidence and optimism from having won the last two Brickyard 400s.

So how will that impact the weekend?

On Friday’s NASCAR America, Dale Jarrett said Indy “plays into Busch’s hand,” but also to look out for Martin Truex Jr.

Check out the video above.

 

 

NASCAR America: Significance of winning at Indianapolis (video)

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On Friday’s edition of NASCAR America, two-time Brickyard 400 winner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Brickyard-winning crew chief Slugger Labbe, who led Paul Menard to a Brickyard 400 win, both discussed the importance of winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway — as well as how to do it.

Check out the video above.