Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Martin Truex Jr. cruises to 4th win of the season at Kentucky

Martin Truex Jr. cruises to 4th win of the season at Kentucky

Reigning champion and defending race victor Martin Truex Jr. starts on the pole while the sport's youth movement looks to follow last week's victor Erik Jones and secure their spot in the playoffs.

Martin Truex Jr. led the final 44 laps to win Saturday's Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway and claim his fourth Cup victory of the season.

At the same time, Erik Jones' victory at Daytona offers hope that a new face might emerge if everything falls right. Keselowski had won at Kentucky in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

Busch, Jones' teammate with Joe Gibbs Racing, has seven victories across all three NASCAR national series at Kentucky.

The NASCAR Cup Series makes its eighth visit to Kentucky Speedway with this evening's Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart. Kyle Busch won that inaugural Cup race here and added a second triumph in 2015.

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"I didn't know how many people believed in numerology in this sport or in this world until I came to Kentucky this year", Keselowski joked. It is his 14th top five through 19 races this season.

Now, he returns to a track where he won last season in Kentucky. He has won three times already this season and is just 120 points behind Busch in third place.

With 40 to go in Stage 2, Truex held a sizable lead over Busch while Blaney had moved into third. And he's also the only driver who's ever won a stage at the track. "We've really been working hard on these race cars, trying to figure them out". Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney and Paul Menard rounded out the top five. Joey Logano has four top-10s in six starts, including eighth past year.

"I've enjoyed this race track, whether it was before it got repaved or now", Blaney said. "I feel like our team is pretty close to where it needs to be". He became Kentucky's first repeat victor, earning his fourth victory this season and the 19th of his career. He led 152 of 274 laps on his way to winning this race last July. Points leader Kyle Busch, a two-time Kentucky champion, rounded out the top five by clocking 188.206 miles per hour in the No. 18 Toyota. The yellow flag waved, however, before Truex could take the white flag and he then had to survive an overtime restart on worn tires to get the win - which came under yellow as a wreck on the final lap well behind him ended the race.

Keselowski almost passed Truex after cycling through pit stops, but was dinged for a pit road speeding penalty before he could do so.

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