The Chase for the Sprint Cup: Martin Truex Jr wins at Chicagoland
Martin Truex Jr., the driver of the #78 Furniture Row’s Toyota, wins the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, the opening race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. With his first victory at 1.5-mile oval, his third in the season and sixth of his career, Truex also secured the Round of 12 in the Chase.
The decisive move of the race was the change of tires during the last caution, called on Lap 263. In the overtime finish fresher tires allowed Truex to quickly passed Ryan Blaney, Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards, who had stayed out on old tires. Earlier in the race, Truex led for 30 laps but he had an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 69 (of 270) to change a flat right front tire and he lost the lap, but he returned to the lead lap during second caution on Lap 120. He regained the lead at the restart on Lap 269 and stayed in front until the checkered flag.
Joey Logano came from sixth to second in the two-lap overtime. Chase Elliott won a drag race for third against Ryan Blaney, with Brad Keselowski crossing the finish line in fifth. Jimmie Johnson led a race-high 118 laps but finished 12th after serving a pass-through penalty for a pit road speeding infraction on Lap 234.
After the race, both Truex’s winning car and Johnson’s car failed the laser inspection. Since both failed by a slight margin, NASCAR officials said the infraction wouldn’t result with taking the victory from Truex. Two more races in the Round of 16 are schedule, at New Hampshire and Dover.
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