2018 NASCAR at Kentucky results, standings: Martin Truex Jr. wins fourth race of the year

Martin Truex Jr. dominated at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night to earn his fourth win of the season after starting on the pole. It's the second straight trip to Victory Lane for Truex in the Bluegrass State.

There were rarely times where Truex wasn't in the lead during the race. The No. 78 led the most overall laps and really only surrendered the top spot near pit stops and cautions in what was unquestionably his strongest effort of the year.

Truex picked up his fourth green-and-white checkered of the season in Stage 1. It was more of the same in Stage 2, as Truex drove on to collect his fifth mid-race win without much of a challenge as well. Last year, he set the record in stage-racing's inaugural season with 19 stage wins. 

Quaker State 400 results

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Ryan Blaney
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Kyle Busch
  5. Kevin Harvick
  6. Kurt Busch
  7. Erik Jones
  8. Aric Almirola
  9. Kyle Larson
  10. Joey Logano
  11. Paul Menard
  12. Clint Bowyer
  13. Chase Elliott
  14. Jimmie Johnson
  15. Daniel Suarez
  16. Denny Hamlin
  17. Jamie McMurray
  18. David Ragan
  19. Matt Kenseth
  20. William Byron
  21. Ryan Newman
  22. Austin Dillon
  23. Chris Buescher
  24. Michael McDowell
  25. Kasey Kahne
  26. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  27. Bubba Wallace
  28. Ross Chastain
  29. Ty Dillon
  30. AJ Allmendinger
  31. Corey LaJoie
  32. BJ McLeod
  33. Landon Cassill
  34. Timmy Hill
  35. Jesse Little
  36. Garrett Smithley
  37. Matt DiBenedetto
  38. JJ Yeley
  39. Alex Bowman

2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings

POSITIONDRIVERCAR #POINTSBEHINDWINS

1.

Kyle Busch

18

799

LEADER

5

2.

Kevin Harvick

4

740

-59

5

3.

Martin Truex Jr.

78

689

-110

4

4.

Joey Logano

22

648

-151

1

5.

Brad Keselowski

2

630

-169

0

6.

Clint Bowyer

14

629

-170

2

7.

Kurt Busch

41

601

-198

0

8.

Kyle Larson

42

581

-218

0

9.

Denny Hamlin

11

559

-240

0

10.

Ryan Blaney

12

546

-253

0

11.

Aric Almirola

10

534

-265

0

12.

Jimmie Johnson

48

484

-315

0

13.

Erik Jones

20

480

-319

1

14.

Chase Elliott

9

469

-330

0

15.

Alex Bowman

88

427

-372

0

16.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17

418

-381

0

17.

Paul Menard

21

404

-395

0

18.

Austin Dillon

3

362

-437

1

19.

Ryan Newman

31

348

-451

0

20.

Daniel Suarez

19

344

-455

0

Stage 1: Truex dominates

Truex started the race from the pole while contender Kyle Larson started from the rear after missing driver intros. As Truex led early on, Larson began working his way up to the front. It took the No. 42 just 20 laps to crack the top 20.

Green flag pit stops began about 25 laps into the race with Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Dillon came in after reports of a vibration while Stenhouse had a tire rub. The rub, caused by apparent contact with Jamie McMurray, brought Stenhouse down pit road not once, but twice for repairs, putting him multiple laps down. Denny Hamlin came in early too after reports of brake issues.

Larson eventually made his way into the top 15 on Lap 32 as Truex continued to pace the field ahead of Keselowski. Truex pit from the lead around lap 40 as the remainder of the field followed.

Keselowski nearly passed Truex after cycling through pit stops, but was dinged for a pit road speeding penalty before he could do so. The No. 2 had to come back down into the pits for a pass-through penalty. Keselowski explained on the radio that he got confused about which line to slow down at approaching pit road.

Kurt Busch chose to stay out and stretch the fuel window while Truex, Busch and Harvick worked their way back to the front. The No. 41 eventually came down with less than 20 to go, handing the lead back to the No. 78. Truex would go on to win the stage, while Larson made his way into the top 10 after green flag stops. 

Stage 1 results

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (10 points plus 1 playoff point)
  2. Kevin Harvick (9 points)
  3. Kyle Busch (8 points)
  4. Ryan Blaney (7 points)
  5. Paul Menard (6 points)
  6. Clint Bowyer (5 points)
  7. Daniel Suarez (4 points)
  8. Kyle Larson (3 points)
  9. Aric Almirola (2 points)
  10. Erik Jones (1 point)

Stage 2: No challenging Truex

Kurt Busch won the race off pit road after taking just two tires while Truex came in behind him with a four-tire stop. Joey Logano stayed out and assumed the race lead for the restart.

The No. 41 shot out to the lead to open the stage with Truex trailing not far behind and Harvick in third. Just as Truex reclaimed his spot in the front ahead of Busch, Larson made his way into the top five.

Alex Bowman brought out the first natural caution of the day about 110 laps into the race. Bowman -- after previously taking two tires between stages -- saw his right front tire go down, barrelling his car into the wall. The No. 88 had to come down pit road for extensive repairs but the team wasn't able to make them, sending Bowman to the garage.

Truex restarted from the lead and took off as Kyle Busch and Blaney engaged in a fierce battle for second. The veteran Busch was able to hold off the 24-year-old early on, but Blaney remained in the fold with Harvick and Logano behind him.

The No. 78 drove on absolutely unchallenged to win Stage 2 ahead of Busch and Blaney.

Stage 2 results

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (10 points plus 1 playoff point)
  2. Kyle Busch (9 points)
  3. Ryan Blaney (8 points)
  4. Kevin Havick (7 points)
  5. Kyle Larson (6 points)
  6. Clint Bowyer (5 points)
  7. Kurt Busch (4 points)
  8. Joey Logano (3 points)
  9. Erik Jones (2 points)
  10. Paul Menard (1 point)

Final Stage: Truex says goodnight 

Keselowski opted for two tires between stages and restarted from the lead ahead of Truex. Kyle Busch got loose on the restart and fell back, but was able to save it quickly as Keselowski got a strong run at the green.

Despite a dominant effort early, Truex got into mild trouble early in the Final Stage, surrendering the second position to Larson. While those two battled for position, Keselowski took advantage of clean air in the lead. Truex eventually took second back from Larson 10 laps later as the No. 42 began to lose position with a broken trackbar.

Truex finally reclaimed the lead from Keselowski with 67 to go. As the No. 78 continued to do its thing toward the front, JJ Yeley hit the wall hard and brought out the caution flag.

Kurt Busch again won the race off pit road with a two tire stop while Keselowski lost four spots after taking as many tires. Larson also lost over a dozen spots under yellow as his team repaired a broken trackbar.

The No. 41 held the lead on the restart with Truex right behind him. However it didn't take long for the No. 78 to reclaim the top spot. And that was all she wrote as Truex drove on easily to win the race.

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