NASCAR Playoffs at Charlotte results: Martin Truex wins, advances to Round of 8

Martin Truex Jr outlasted a barrage of cautions on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway to win his sixth race of the season and advance to the NASCAR Playoffs Round of 8. Truex started 17th and didn't place inside the top 10 in Stage 1.

The No. 78 picks up another five points to bring his playoff total to 64. Those points will carry over into the next round but not the Championship 4 if Truex does indeed make it to Homestead in November. It is the second straight playoff opener victory for Truex.

Truex attributed his win to his longtime girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, who has been battling ovarian cancer since 2014 and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. 

Although Pollex, a typical mainstay in Truex's pit box, was not at the race, she was watching from home and sent out a tweet to congratulate her boyfriend.

Chase Elliott was runner-up for a second straight race. It was a much-needed performance for the No. 24, who despite a solid playoffs thus far, began the Round of 12 from the 10th position. He now moves up to fourth.

Kyle Busch had a rough day, finishing 27th after bringing out the caution multiple times. Given the fumes he had been breathing in all day, the No. 18 driver collapsed on pit road after the race. He was able to get up and walk around under his own power after receiving ice packs and wet towels.

Here's how it all went down.

Prior to the race, Dale Jarrett paid tribute to the late Robert Yates, who died earlier in the week after nearly a yearlong battle with liver cancer. Jarrett manned the iconic Robert Yates Racing No. 88 car for the pace lap. Yates, a Hall of Fame owner and engine builder, was 74 years old.

Stage 1: Kyle Larson a big mover as Kevin Harvick wins

Kevin Harvick won Stage 1 over last week's runner-up Chase Elliott, followed by Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, pole starter Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Daniel Suarez and Jimmie Johnson to round out the top 10. Kurt Busch and Suarez were the only two non-Round of 12 drivers to earn stage points. 

Hamlin battled with Harvick while leading the first 35 laps ahead of the competition yellow. The caution was designed to compensate for canceled practice and allow teams to make adjustments after running part of the race. Larson seemed to emerge as the leader, but he missed his pit stall and had to come around again, dropping him to 31st.

Elliott took the lead from Hamlin upon the restart as Harvick made the pass as for second as well. Ryan Newman's car then spun out and went up in flames a few laps later. Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano also sustained damage.

The caution proved to be costly for Elliott, who forfeited the lead to Harvick with 38 laps to go in the stage. While Harvick's dominance was shown, it was Larson who made the biggest move, finishing the stage fourth ahead of teammate McMurray.

Stage 2: Kevin Harvick sweeps, Elliott runner-up again

Harvick dominated Stage 2, completing the mid-race sweep at Charlotte. He only had three stage wins coming into the race. Elliott again finished second making it three consecutive checkered flags (one black and white, two green and white) as the runner-up. Kenseth was third followed by Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Hamlin, Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney and McMurray to round out the top 10.

Kyle Busch took the lead from McMurray on the opening lap of Stage 2 after the No. 1 won the race off pit road. Michael McDowell brought out the first caution of the stage on lap 114 granting Logano, one of the victims of the first caution, the free pass. Harvick reclaimed the lead from Busch on the restart.

Busch went on to hit the wall hard with 44 to go in the stage while running in the second position, bringing out the caution. He had similar problems in the only practice earlier in the week. The No. 18 team worked for three minutes, however Busch was able to make it back onto the track just a lap down. Harvick continued on to lap Busch again with 18 to go in the stage after Rowdy rubbed the wall yet again. 

Rowdy finished the stage two laps down in 31st, 10 spots behind Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Final Stage: Truex does it again

Harvick continued his dominance in an uneventful early part of the stage as Kyle Busch hit the wall yet again. This time the caution did not come out, but Busch was forced to bring the No. 18 into the pits. Kenseth followed him shortly after for adjustments, signaling the start of green flag pit stops.

Truex beat Harvick off of pit road and took the lead once Kasey Kahne finally came in. Larson then moved up to second after Harvick complained of grip issues.

David Ragan wrecked Danica Patrick's No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion with roughly 70 laps to go in the race. Patrick, who is raising awareness for breast cancer with a pink car, had to take it to the garage. Ragan also saw his day come to the end.  

The caution occurred right around the fuel window meaning drivers were immediately told to conserve for the final stretch run if no more yellows were to come out. Fortunately for most of the drivers, a caution did come out however it was at the expense of Kyle Busch, who spun out with 55 to go. It was insult to injury for the No. 18 whose fault gave new life to his competitors trying to knock him out of the playoffs.

Larson had a miserable pit stop in which his rear tire changer fell over, moving him outside of the top 10. It had appeared Johnson was facing a penalty for adjusting lug nuts while outside his pit box, but he was not accessed. However, the slow stop pushed the No. 48 outside of the top 15 as Truex held the lead on the restart.

Busch again brought out the caution with 10 laps to go as it seemed Truex was going to easily drive on to another victory. It didn't appear as though the No. 18 hit anything rather smoke, debris and a slow car brought out the yellow flag. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was penalized for speeding as Kevin Harvick lost four spots after being within just seconds of the lead.

Brother Kurt Busch followed suit after Truex got out to a tremendous lead on the restart, spinning out and bringing out a caution of his own. Larson's car suffered slight damage but he was still able to restart inside the top six for overtime.

Truex took another commanding lead upon the restart, holding off Chase Elliott and the rest of the field en route to the checkered flag.

Bank of America 500 results

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Chase Elliott
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Jamie McMurray
  6. Daniel Suarez
  7. Jimmie Johnson
  8. Ryan Blaney
  9. Kasey Kahne
  10. Kyle Larson
  11. Matt Kenseth
  12. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  14. Trevor Bayne
  15. Brad Keselowski
  16. Austin Dillon
  17. Erik Jones
  18. Chris Buescher
  19. Paul Menard
  20. AJ Allmendinger
  21. Ty Dillon
  22. Kurt Busch
  23. Matt DiBenedetto
  24. Aric Almirola
  25. Landon Cassill
  26. Joey Logano
  27. Clint Bowyer
  28. Corey LaJoie
  29. Kyle Busch
  30. Jeffrey Earnhardt
  31. Reed Sorenson
  32. BJ McLeod
  33. Timmy Hill
  34. Cole Whitt
  35. Michael McDowell
  36. Gray Gaulding
  37. David Ragan
  38. Danica Patrick
  39. Brett Moffitt
  40. Ryan Newman

BOLD - indicates Round of 12 playoff driver

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 12 standings

POSITION

DRIVER

CAR #

POINTS

BEHIND

WINS

1.

Martin Truex Jr.

78

3106

LEADER

6

2.

Kyle Larson

42

3072

-34

4

3.

Kevin Harvick

4

3069

-37

1

4.

Chase Elliott

24

3059

-47

0

5.

Denny Hamlin

11

3056

-50

2

6.

Kyle Busch

18

3055

-51

4

7.

Jimmie Johnson

48

3051

-55

3

8.

Jamie McMurray

1

3044

-62

0

9.

Matt Kenseth

20

3043

-63

0

10.

Brad Keselowski

2

3042

-64

2

11.

Ryan Blaney

21

3039

-67

1

12.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17

3034

-72

2

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