Tha Sports Junkies 101

Truex Takes Playoff Win at Chicagoland Speedway



Playoff race 1 of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series saw a familiar face in victory lane. For the second straight year, Martin Truex Jr and the 78 Furniture Row Racing team won at Chicagoland Speedway.

They were crowned the Regular Season Champion after a devastating loss last week at Richmond. They were seeded as the points leader and had the all the pressure on them. When it mattered most, the 78 team was able to deliver a clutch performance.

Early Race Recap

Kyle Busch started the day from the pole position. During Friday’s qualifying session, he bested the field by 3 tenths of a second. This was a record pole margin dating back to 2009 at Indianapolis. Many thought the 18 car was the one to beat. He would go on to dominate Stage 1, leading all but 2 laps. Several Playoff teams had troubles on pit road, including Kyle Busch. During green flag pit stops, Martin Truex Jr and several others were busted for speeding penalties.

Stage 2 at Chicagoland Speedway went to Chase Elliott. The young gun was able to capitalize on mistakes by the 18 crew to restart second for Stage 2. He beat Kevin Harvick off of pit road and cruised to the Stage win.

For the final stage, Chase Elliott restarted as the leader but lost the top spot to Kevin Harvick. Harvick would inherit the lead again for 23 laps, but could not hold off the lightning-quick 78 car. Truex took the lead on lap 213 and never looked back. In total, he led 77 laps on the day, winning his 12th career race, second at Chicagoland Speedway, and fifth of the season. Because of his current standings, Truex can use the next 2 races to gain Playoff points and prepare for Round 2.

The rest of the top 10 finishers were Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Jamie McMurray.

Current Playoff Standings 

With his win at Chicagoland Speedway, Truex is locked into the Round of 12. Due to lackluster performances, the 4 drivers currently on the outside of the cut line are Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Kasey Kahne, and Ryan Newman. The remaining Playoff standings can be seen below.

Martin Truex Jr2,102 Points
Kyle Larson-27
Kevin Harvick-35
Kyle Busch-41
Brad Keselowski-41
Chase Elliott-43
Denny Hamlin-44
Jimmie Johnson-56
Matt Kenseth-63
Ryan Blaney-68
Jamie McMurray-71
Austin Dillon-76
Kurt Busch-76
Ricky Stenhouse Jr-80
Kasey Kahne-81
Ryan Newman-83