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MECS: Truex takes race #1 in playoffs, punches round 2 ticket

(MRN) Martin Truex Jr. won the opening race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs on Sunday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The 2017 champion passed Kevin Harvick on Lap 248 to score his fifth win of the season and in the process will advance to the next round of the playoffs.

“It was a lot of fun tonight,” Truex Jr. said. “Any time you get a car like that it’s a lot of fun. It wasn’t easy, we had our challenges.

“These next two weeks are all about bonus points. This is big today to get six. Those are really important to get to Homestead.”

Truex Jr. has won the opening race of the playoffs three of the last four seasons.

“We hit it right when we needed to at the end and beat the 4 car,” he said. “Really, that whole second to last run I was just babying it to save the right rear, then we started being faster than him and Cole got the car perfect that last run.”

Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five.

Alex Bowman, William Byron, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman completed the first 10 finishers. Logano led a race-high 105 laps but had contact with Daniel Suarez on Lap 189.

“If we didn’t have a wrecked car we would have had a shot at winning,” Logano said. “We were really good at the beginning of the race. We drove all the way to the lead and led a bunch of laps. We can be proud of that. We won’t let our heads get down on this. It is still a strong day.”

Logano and Truex Jr. won the first two stages of the race. 

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now moves to Richmond Raceway next Saturday night.

For more, visit www.mrn.com.

Fin Str Car Driver Make Laps Pts Status Laps Led
1 24 19 Martin Truex Jr. (P) Toyota 267 53 Running 32
2 3 4 Kevin Harvick (P) Ford 267 51 Running 47
3 18 2 Brad Keselowski (P) Ford 267 34 Running 0
4 8 9 Chase Elliott (P) Chevrolet 267 39 Running 12
5 23 12 Ryan Blaney (P) Ford 267 35 Running 1
6 19 88 Alex Bowman (P) Chevrolet 267 32 Running 0
7 14 24 William Byron (P) Chevrolet 267 39 Running 6
8 15 42 Kyle Larson (P) Chevrolet 267 39 Running 2
9 22 22 Joey Logano (P) Ford 267 47 Running 105
10 17 6 Ryan Newman (P) Ford 267 27 Running 0

2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Standings

After Race 27: Las Vegas

Rank Driver Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Points -Leader -Next Stage Wins Playoff Points
1 Martin Truex Jr. (P) 5 11 16 0 2082 0 0 4 35
2 Kevin Harvick (P) 3 10 18 5 2079 -3 3 5 28
3 Joey Logano (P) 2 10 16 2 2075 -7 4 9 29
4 Kyle Busch (P) 4 13 21 0 2063 -19 12 10 45
5 Brad Keselowski (P) 3 10 15 2 2058 -24 5 4 24
6 Chase Elliott (P) 2 9 12 3 2057 -25 1 4 18
7 Denny Hamlin (P) 4 13 17 1 2056 -26 1 3 30
8 Kyle Larson (P) 0 6 13 1 2044 -38 12 4 5
9 William Byron (P) 0 3 10 4 2040 -42 4 1 1
10 Ryan Blaney (P) 0 8 13 1 2039 -43 1 2 4
11 Alex Bowman (P) 1 4 8 0 2037 -45 2 0 5
12 Aric Almirola (P) 0 1 10 1 2033 -49 4 1 1
13 Ryan Newman (P) 0 1 10 0 2027 -55 6 0 0
14 Kurt Busch (P) 1 5 14 0 2019 -63 8 3 11
15 Clint Bowyer (P) 0 6 12 1 2012 -70 7 0 0
16 Erik Jones (P) 1 9 13 0 2007 -75 5 0 5

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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