Martin Truex Jr. dominates Kentucky field to score third win of the year

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Once Martin Truex Jr. took control of Saturday night’s Cup race at Kentucky Speedway, no one else had a chance.

Truex swept both stages and won — the second time this season he’s performed that trick, having done it at Las Vegas.

The only drama late came when Kurt Busch‘s blown engine sent the race into overtime. Truex did not pit, while the other seven cars on the lead lap stopped for tires, giving them fresher tires than Truex.

Didn’t matter.

Truex pulled away on the overtime restart and won it when Matt Kenseth spun off Turn 4 and collected Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon.

“This is completely unbelievable,” Truex told NBCSN on the track after his burnout. “That was a whole lot of fun.”

Kyle Larson finished second. Chase Elliott was third and followed by Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.

Saturday’s victory is the third of the season for Truex and gives him 28 playoffs points with eight races left until NASCAR’s postseason. No one else has more than 16 playoff points.

No one was close to Truex. He had a 14-second lead on second place with 50 laps left. Only 12 cars were on the lead lap with 28 laps left in the race.

All three of Truex’s wins have come at 1.5-mile tracks this season: Las Vegas, Kansas and Kentucky.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.

STAGE 2 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.

HOW MARTIN TRUEX JR. WON: Simply put, the field couldn’t keep up with him once he got the lead. He had the best car, took advantage of the clean air and had no issues on pit road on the way to his 10th career series victory and first at Kentucky.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Kyle Larson finished second after starting at the rear. He worked his way into the top five and then had to go back to the back when he was caught for speeding on pit road. He motored back though the field to finish second. … Chase Elliott charged to third in overtime to score his fifth top-10 finish in the last six races. … Denny Hamlin overcame a speeding penalty to finish fourth, his third fourth-place finish in the last four races.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson had their race end on a Lap 88 accident when Keselowski spun, got into Clint Bowyer and came across Johnson’s car. Johnson finished 40th, Keselowski placed 39th. … Kasey Kahne had contact with Trevor and both wrecked on the ensuring restart. Bayne returned but had an incident a few laps later and was done for the race. Kahne finished 38th. Bayne placed 37th.

NOTABLE: Kasey Kahne has failed to finish five of the last seven races because of an accident.

LUG NUT INFRACTION: NASCAR announced after the race that Kyle Busch’s car had an unsecured lug nut after the race. That would be a $10,000 fine.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “It is time for the sport to design a new car that is worthy of where this sport deserves to be and the show it deserves to put on for its fans.”

NEXT: The series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Overton’s 301 at 3 p.m. ET on July 16 on NBCSN.

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