Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Martin Truex Jr. held off a hard charge from Ryan Blaney on Saturday night at Kansas Speedway to take home a Go Bowling 400 win.
The triumph was Truex Jr.’s second of the season on the Monster Energy circuit, and it represented a welcome rebound after he finished 35th at Talladega a week ago.
Fox Sports Nascar on Twitter offered a look at Truex crossing the finish line in victorious fashion:
FOX SPORTS: NASCAR @NASCARONFOX
RT to congratulate @ToyotaRacing’s @MartinTruex_Jr on his WIN at @kansasspeedway!
#ToyotaNation #NASCARonFS1 https://t.co/9GLzTvs3Cf
5/14/2017, 3:46:48 AM
Brad Keselowski finished in second, while Kevin Harvick passed Blaney for third as the No. 21 ran out of steam late.
Here’s a look at the top finishers from Saturday’s race, with complete results available at NASCAR’s official website:
|Go Bowling 400 Results|
|1||Martin Truex Jr.||104||—–|
The opening stage featured four different drivers on the lead lap at one point or another, but it was Kyle Busch who worked his way to the front of the pack at the right time.
Busch proceeded to lead the final 20 laps of the first stanza, and he crossed the finish line following the race’s first 80 laps with a stage victory one night after he did the same en route to a win in a Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway.
The stage win was also Busch’s first since the Daytona 500, and it propelled him into an exclusive club, according to NASCAR scribe Jeff Gluck:
Jeff Gluck @jeff_gluck
Kyle Busch becomes seventh driver w/multiple stage wins this season. Truex 5, Harvick 3, Larson/BradK/Elliott/Blaney/KyBusch 2 each.
5/14/2017, 12:47:25 AM
And while Busch was able to maintain a grip on the lead for large swaths of the second stage, he relinquished the lead after pitting and paved the way for Blaney to throttle his way into first.
Catchfence.com’s Chris Knight provided the perfect GIF to sum up Blaney’s performance at the end of the stage:
The stage win was Blaney’s third of the year, per Gluck, and it allowed him to build momentum and pad his playoff standing, as Fox Sports documented on Twitter:
FOX Sports @FOXSports
Ryan @Blaney picks up a playoff point after winning Stage 2 at @kansasspeedway.
#NASCARonFS1 @woodbrothers21 https://t.co/BemmipdeQP
5/14/2017, 1:55:13 AM
Blaney, Busch and Truex Jr. proceeded to jockey for top billing throughout the final stage in a heated battle that featured the two drivers who were far and away the most consistent Saturday evening.
However, their runs for glory were temporarily halted with 67 laps to go when Danica Patrick, Joey Logano and Aric Almirola were involved in a giant wreck that brought out a red flag, via Fox Sports on Twitter:
FOX Sports @FOXSports
Here’s a closer look at tonight’s BIG 3-car crash at @kansasspeedway.
#NASCARonFS1 #GB400 https://t.co/DwNskvXpjm
5/14/2017, 2:29:56 AM
Logano and Patrick walked away from the crash, but Almirola—who was conscious—remained in his car for close to 10 minutes as safety workers tended to him and eventually escorted him off the track on a stretcher before he was loaded into an ambulance and airlifted to a local hospital for observation, per NBC Sports’ Jerry Bonkowski.
All told, the race was halted for 28 minutes before the chase for the checkered flag resumed.
But when it did, Truex Jr. proved he was the man to beat as his car ran at speeds Blaney couldn’t keep pace with over the final 30 laps.
The Monster Energy Series will be back in action on May 20 for the All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.