Post-Richmond playoff picture

Ruben Hill
September 23, 2019

Martin Truex Jr. seemed to have a "pinch me" moment as he climbed from his vehicle in victory lane. The driver who leads in that category with an average finish of 10.00 in these five races has led this category following both of the last two races, yet he has dropped in these rankings after both of these races.

The victory accomplished a redemptive end for Truex, the championship chief coming into the race.

On Lap 141, Jones moved into the fifth spot, putting all four JGR cars in the top-five as Kyle Busch continued to lead the way.

"Luckily I didn't hit anything", Truex Jr. "I knew Richmond was going to be an opportunity; we semi-capitalized on that opportunity, but looking forward to Charlotte". Jones, however, was later disqualified when his Toyota failed post-race inspection for a rear wheel alignment issue, dropping him to 38th place and severely damaging his chances of advancing to the second playoff stage.

Truex and Busch won Stage 1 and 2, respectively.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, all of the lead-lap cars elected to pit with Kyle Busch the first off pit road. "We were up front a lot".

But in the long run, there really is no clear top/hottest driver or team.

Brad Keselowski has led the field to green for the start of the NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Richmond Raceway. With Hendrick Motorsports driver Byron above the cutline, it puts fellow HMS driver Alex Bowman the first on the outside.

Kevin Harvick, who has three victories on the 0.75-mile, D-shaped oval, will be on the outside in the front row, with Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch in the second row.

Truex had never earned back-to-backs win his career but the veteran driver edged Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones in Richmond, Virginia on Saturday.

Busch was not shocked that Truex caught him. After finally getting by Busch he left his teammate behind to capture the win. Busch took the lead as a result, but Truex was able to remain in the top five in third, with Hamlin between his JGR allies. He'll be in that same starting spot Saturday night for the second of three races in the first segment of the playoffs in NASCAR's Cup Series.

Busch and Harvick, who finished eighth, clinched spots in the Round of 12 on points. Alex Bowman finished in 23rd, the second worst finish for a playoff contender following contact with Austin Dillion on Lap 112. The bump from Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was running on fresher tires, seemed inadvertent, and came in Turn 4, but Truex was still running third when the caution flew.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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