Bowyers late rally falls agonizingly short: I thought this was our night – NASCAR

Bowyers late rally falls agonizingly short: I thought this was our night - NASCAR
Martin Truex Jr. continues the Gibbs and Penske streak at Richmond
Truex held off Clint Bowyer and then Joey Logano over the last 25 laps of Saturday nights race to get his first win of 2019 and his first win at a track less than a mile in length.

Truex pulled off the win with a car that he said wasnt performing too well over the final tenth of the race. It was his first short track win in over 80 starts.

I was struggling the last 40 laps, Truex said. I had no front turn, I was just real, real tight in that last run.

We were better. It is what it is. Weve raced each other hard for wins and weve always raced each other fine. Im not complaining. Hes racing for his spot. Im racing for my spot. Its frustrating when youre in the car and you know youre better and you know you have a shot at winning and thats the frustrating part. Hes racing. Im racing. Im a hard racer. He is too. Thats what youre going to get.

Clint Bowyer earns fourth straight top 10 with Richmond finish

The win locks Truex into the playoffs and means that Joe Gibbs Racing has won six of the first nine races of the 2019 season. His teammate Kyle Busch has three wins and Denny Hamlin has two.

Its kind of a double-edged sword, said Logano, who won the second stage. You go to the bottom, you cant get enough drive to clear them. You are never going to pass them. Getting to the outside is pretty tough. We ran out of time. Needed a few more laps.

Had Logano passed Truex, the streak would have continued anyway. Team Penske has won the other three races in 2019 and a Logano victory would have been its fourth. No Cup Series season has gone on this long with just two teams gobbling up all the race wins.

We needed one more lap to gain one more spot. @Team_Penske built another rocket this week and Im glad we were able to gain more Playoff points and cross the line P2 at @RichmondRaceway. pic.twitter.com/9RnGtek7qr

Bowyer finished third, while Kevin Harvick was fourth and Denny Hamlin was fifth. Busch had the dominant car in the early stages of the race but got a pit road speeding penalty. He finished eighth.

Logano finished second to Martin Truex Jr. on Saturday night at Richmond Raceway after running out of laps. It came a week after Logano gave up the lead to pit late at Bristol and finished third.

Eight of the races 37 starters and four of the top 10 starters failed pre-race inspection Saturday afternoon. All the cars that had failed inspection had to start at the back.

I think well talk about it, Logano said. Well be fine, were friends. You want to make sure one of our cars wins. Thats just usually the goal.

Martin Truex Jr. earns first career Cup short track win in Richmond

The race also didnt feature any multi-car crashes and continued a 2019 trend of tame racing. The only two incidents came because of flat tires. Kyle Larson crashed into the wall because of a flat and so did Michael McDowell.

We had a car that was capable of winning for a third week straight and we didnt win, Logano said. That part is frustrating.

Video: Recap: Truex holds on at Richmond

Kyle Larsons having a bad 2019 season. Contact caused a tire rub on Larsons left rear tire early in the race and he came to pit road so the team could pull the fender and prevent a flat tire from happening.

With less than 80 laps left Logano was held up by Brad Keselowski, leaving a frustrated Logano to yell on his radio about his teammate.

Video: Truex on Logano I dont know if were cool

Well … the fender pulling wasnt good enough. Larson returned to the race and soon found himself in the wall because of a flat tire. He drove the car straight to the garage and ended up in last place.

Logano passed Clint Bowyer for second on Saturday night with four laps to go but couldnt make the run he needed to get by Truex.

As JGR and Penske have hogged all the spots in victory lane in 2019 the rest of the top 20 is actually closer to the lead than it was a year ago.

NASCAR results at Richmond: Truex holds off Logano

The two teams have combined to win the first nine races of the season; no two teams have ever won the first nine races of a Cup season before. But crazily enough, drivers throughout the top 20 are actually closer to the points lead than they were a year ago.

Truex led a race-high 186 laps and regained the lead for the last time after green-flag pit stops that started with just more than 80 laps to go. With about 40 to go, Bowyer challenged with what seemed like a faster car, but Bowyer finally relinquished the second spot to Logano, who also seemed to have the faster car of the top two.

What Drivers Said after Richmond

After winning Saturday night at Richmond, Martin Truex Jr. is in sixth in the points standings and 89 points behind teammate Kyle Busch for the points lead. A year ago, fourth-place Kevin Harvick was 91 points behind Busch, who was leading the points.

“Been a crappy start to the year,” Larson said. “Weve had decent speed. We didnt have speed tonight but the weeks that weve got speed we still run into issues so I hate the start to the season Ive had but hopefully this break to the season came at a good time and we can regroup and try to come back better with some better luck.”

Truex breaks through in Richmond

The trend continues as you go down the standings. Erik Jones was 12th in the standings a year ago and 182 points behind Busch. This year Jones is 17th, but just 188 points behind Busch.

The driver in 12th this year, Daniel Suarez, is 165 points behind Busch. Ryan Newman, the driver in 17th at this time a year ago, was 229 points off the points lead. William Byron is currently in 20th in the standings and hes 38 points closer to the lead than the 20th-place driver was a year ago.

“We were close, just not close enough,” Logano said. “Ran out of time there. … Fun race, just gosh. Three weeks in a row I felt like we had a car that could win the race and we havent won. Thats a little frustrating, but when youre frustrated with second, thats a good sign.”

Sorry, Truexs win wasnt a classic. Yeah, it was nice that he got his first short track win and his first win with Joe Gibbs Racing. And while the race produced a close finish, theres nothing extremely memorable about it unless youre a Truex fan. A classic is a race that you remember for a long, long time. Non-Truex fans may forget who won this race in a couple months.

Five other teams failed inspection and had their qualifying speeds and pit selections disallowed, also sending them to the back. They were seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Joey Gase.

Calling Saturday nights race a classic continues NASCARs desperate trend of overselling anything and everything. Thats dangerous. When you oversell everything you soon realize you have a hard time selling anything.

Contact with Daniel Hemric early in the second stage gave Larson a tire rub and when he got back up to speed after stopping under green, the rub continued and he hit the Turn 1 wall on just the 127th lap of the night.

NASCAR Richmond Cup race results: Martin Truex Jr. gets breakthrough short-track win

In a race to see who could preserve their car best, Truex outlasted Bowyer and then held off a four-lap charge by Joey Logano to win the NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night.

Truex expertly navigated lapped traffic and never let him pass to win for the first time in 81 starts in the Cup series on a short track. Its his 20th career victory and 17th in the last four seasons.

Video: Bowyer: We will have to wait for next time

Martin Truex Jr. ends short-track drought with Richmond win

"I was struggling the last 40 laps," Truex said. "I had not front turn. I was just real, real tight that last run. I just had to hold him off. Being out front was important tonight."

In a race to see who could preserve their car best, Truex outlasted Bowyer and then held off a four-lap charge by Joey Logano to win the NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night.

Because he did, Truex gave Joe Gibbs Racing its sixth victory in nine races this season and won for the first time in his career on tracks shorter than a mile.

As a result, NASCAR disqualified their qualifying speeds, sending them to the rear of the field, disallowed their pit stall selections and ejected one engineer from each team for the race.

Truex fends off late charge for Richmond win

"At the end of the day, we drove up to him and you get terrible tight behind people," Bowyer said.

Eight cars failed prerace inspection, including three that failed twice. They include local favorite Denny Hamlin, a three-time winner on the 0.75-mile oval, Chase Elliott and Matt Tifft.

Truex led a race-high 186 laps and regained the lead for the last time after green-flag pit stops that started with just more than 80 laps to go. With about 40 to go, Bowyer challenged with what seemed like a faster car, but Bowyer finally relinquished the second spot to Logano, who also seemed to have the faster car of the top two.

Truex expertly navigated lapped traffic and never let him pass to win for the first time in 81 starts in the Cup series on a short track. It's his 20th career victory and 17th in the last four seasons.

"It means a lot to finally break through," Truex said in Victory Lane. "I hope it was a helluva show. It sure was fun behind the wheel."

Logano held on for second. Bowyer was third and Kevin Harvick fourth, giving Stewart-Haas Racing two top-four finishers. Local favorite Denny Hamlin was fifth.

"We were close, just not close enough," Logano said. "Ran out of time there. … Fun race, just gosh. Three weeks in a row I felt like we had a car that could win the race and we haven't won. That's a little frustrating, but when you're frustrated with second, that's a good sign."

The stage for the finish was set when the leaderboard got shuffled beginning on Lap 318 when the cars running up front began pitting under a green flag.

When they all had new tires and enough fuel to finish, Truex was back in front, followed by Bowyer, Logano, Harvick and Hamlin. Brad Keselowski dropped to eighth during the cycle and Kyle Busch, seeking his third victory in a row on the 0.75-mile, D-shaped oval, his fourth of the season and second in a row, fell back to 10th.

Joe Gibbs said he can't explain his team's dominant start to the season, but he's going to enjoy it while it lasts.

"Sometimes in pro sports, you know, you get on a roll, things go well," Gibbs said. "I think that's the reason why you need to enjoy it in pro sports because you know, odds are, this ain't going to keep happening."

Eight cars failed prerace inspection, including three that failed twice. They include local favorite Denny Hamlin, a three-time winner on the 0.75-mile oval, Chase Elliott and Matt Tifft.

As a result, NASCAR disqualified their qualifying speeds, sending them to the rear of the field, disallowed their pit stall selections and ejected one engineer from each team for the race.

Five other teams failed inspection and had their qualifying speeds and pit selections disallowed, also sending them to the back. They were seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Joey Gase.

Contact with Daniel Hemric early in the second stage gave Larson a tire rub and when he got back up to speed after stopping under green, the rub continued and he hit the Turn 1 wall on just the 127th lap of the night.

"Been a crappy start to the year," Larson said. "We've had decent speed. We didn't have speed tonight but the weeks that we've got speed we still run into issues so I hate the start to the season I've had but hopefully this break to the season came at a good time and we can regroup and try to come back better with some better luck."

The series takes its traditional week off for Easter before heading to Talladega Superspeedway in two weeks.


Posted in Richmond