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15 April 2019, 11:26 | Anna Jefferson
NASCAR tweaks qualifying again for Richmond
Image by Nigel Kinrade LAT
Martin Truex Jr. won the Toyota Owners 400 from Richmond Raceway on Saturday night for his first win of the season. Truex led a race high of 186 laps en route to his victory. With about 40 to go, Bowyer almost caught him, but Truex never let him pass. Bowyer relinquished the second spot to Logano, but Truex expertly navigated lapped traffic and took his 20th career victory, the 17th in the past four seasons.
During the race, which is scheduled for 400 laps (300 miles) around the 0.75-mile track, the chance for precipitation spikes at 15 percent, starting at 8 p.m. ET.
The defending Cup Series champion was on a rail in the final laps of the Toyota Owners 400, powering around the top side of the three-quarter-mile oval and passing Clint Bowyer for second with four laps left as he looked to collect his second win of the season.
Logano held on for second.
Clint Bowyer came in third, pole victor Kevin Harvick finished fourth with Denny Hamlin completing the Top 5. Local favorite Denny Hamlin was fifth.
"I was struggling the last 40 laps; had no front turn", Truex said.
Busch, seeking his third consecutive victory at Richmond, was followed by Harvick, brother Kurt Busch, Joey Logano and Paul Menard when everyone headed to the pits for fresh tires and fuel.
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Perhaps in part because of his intricate knowledge that comes with Richmond being his home track, Hamlin's boasts a stellar record on the three-quarter-mile oval.
"I was watching them race and thought that if I was just patient and saved my tires, I could get them", he added.
"We really closed on the leaders there at the end".
"This sport brings me together with my children", he said.
"I always looking forward to Richmond", Busch said in a media release. We're one big family. "I was just real tight that last run". It was a calculated risk for Allgaier, who won the first stage and was hoping that rain in the forecast and on the radar might arrive in time to shorten the race with him in the lead.
Despite a solid starting spot, Logano was not a fan of the format. He's already won twice this year, but his last victory at Richmond came in the fall of 2016. The Andretti Autosport driver scored victories in three of the four times he's started an IndyCar race out front. Each team made it through inspection on its second attempt. Graham Rahal was sixth for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. With those drivers moving to the back, Kyle Larson, who was 14th in the second round of qualifying Friday moves into the top-10 for Saturday's green flag.
The vehicle owner was visibly upset when Dixon's rookie teammate Felix Rosenqvist crashed during the second round of qualifying.
Custer passed Austin Cindric with 20 laps to go and earned his second victory of the season.
Should he do that, he'd be the fourth Cup driver to win three or more races in a row at Richmond and the first since Bobby Allison (1982-83).
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel will third with teammate Charles Leclerc alongside on the second row from Saturday's qualifying.
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