KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Martin Truex Jr. finally ended his string of rotten luck at Kansas Speedway, pulling away from Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick on a late restart Saturday night to win the NASCAR Cup Series race.
Truex dominated the same event a year ago before a fluke problem during a tire change forced him to make an unscheduled pit stop and cost him the race. He’s had plenty of other close calls at Kansas, always leading laps but never finding his way to victory lane.
Brad Keselowski made a pass on the final lap to take second, followed by Harvick and Blaney. Kyle Busch finished fifth after winning the Truck Series race Friday night.
The race was halted with 67 laps to go when a broken brake rotor turned Joey Logano’s car into Danica Patrick, sending her hard into the fence in the first corner. Aric Almirola had nowhere to go and slammed into Logano, the force of the impact lifting his car into the air.
Logano and Patrick were treated and released from the infield care center, while Almirola was airlifted to the University of Kansas Medical Center. He was conscious and alert.
The race tied a track record with 15 cautions, and the last of them for a spin involving Jimmie Johnson bunched up the field for a restart with two laps to go. Truex dove to the bottom and roared away from the rest from the rest of the field, ensuring there would be no more misfortune.
It was Truex’s ninth career win and second this season. He also won at Las Vegas.
The only race at the end was for second place. Keselowski, Harvick and Blaney went three-wide with Keselowski on the high side, and he made the move stick to finish second.
BUSCH KEEPS ON ROLLING
After sweeping both intermediate stages and winning the Truck Series race Friday night, Busch kept his roll going by sweeping to the front on a restart and winning the first stage.
It was the first stage win for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver since the Daytona 500.
Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne were forced to start near the back because of their qualifying debacle. But all of them quickly sliced through the field, despite an intense glare in the third and fourth corners caused by the setting sun.
The biggest drama came when Chase Elliott hit Michael McDowell trying to exit his pit, causing damage to the right from of the No. 24 car. Elliott quickly fell off the lead lap.
BLANEY BACK ON TOP
Pole-sitter laney won his third stage of the year, leading the field across the line in his No. 21 Ford moments after Ryan Newman had an oil pump problem that forced him out.
Newman was running in the top 10 before his engine quit.
Johnson had all kinds of trouble during the stage. He was penalized for driving through too many pit boxes entering his own, then made contact with Kurt Busch that caused his tire to go down.