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MENCS: Truex dominates, needs late lapse by Keselowski to win in Vegas

(MRN) Martin Truex Junior charged past a fading Brad Keselowski in the closing laps Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and drove to victory on a day that ended with Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and his Team Penske pit crew scuffling after contact between those two drivers on the final lap of the race. After being separated from Logano and his crew by NASCAR officials, Busch exited pit road with a small stream of blood trickling down his face. Logano was unmarked and unfazed by the post-race developments, chalking things up to “racing hard.”

Truex was hard to beat yesterday, sweeping the first two segments and leading a race-high 150 laps in notching his eighth career victory and first on the mile-and-a-half desert oval. He beat runner-up Kyle Larson to the checkered flag by a second-and-a-half with Chase Elliott taking third place. Logano held on for fourth with pole sitter Keselowski completing the top five. Busch’s issue on the last lap sent him sliding to a twenty-second-place finish.

With his sweep of all three segments of Sunday’s race, Truex is the first driver to win a stage and also win the race through the first three weeks of the season. The victory should help his Number-78 Furniture Row Racing team build momentum for the trip to Phoenix Raceway after opening the season with finishes of thirteenth and eighth.

Keselowski’s fifth-place finish lifted him into the regular-season lead in the Cup Series standings, by one point over Larson.

Joe Gibbs Racing rookie Daniel Suarez finished twentieth on Sunday, the very day crew chief Dave Rogers was celebrating his 43rd birthday.

NASCAR CUP SERIES

Top 10 Finishers in the Kobalt 400

DRIVER STARTING POSITION LAPS LED

1. Martin Truex Jr. (2) 150

2. Kyle Larson (5) —

3. Chase Elliott (12) —

4. Joey Logano (6) 5

5. Brad Keselowski (Pole) 89

6. Denny Hamlin (15) —

7. Ryan Blaney (3) —

8. Jamie McMurray (10) —

9. Matt Kenseth (4) —

10. Clint Bowyer (13) —

STANDINGS AFTER 3 RACES

DRIVER POINTS BEHIND LEADER

1. Brad Keselowski 132 —-

2. Kyle Larson 131 -1

3. Chase Elliott 129 -3

4. Martin Truex Jr. 127 -5

5. Joey Logano 119 -13

6. Ryan Blaney 106 -26

7. Kurt Busch 93 -39

8. Kevin Harvick 91 -41

9. Kasey Kahne 88 -44

10. Jamie McMurray 86 -46

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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