DARLINGTON, SC - SEPTEMBER 01: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Caramel Toyota, speaks with Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 BassProShops/TrackerBoats40thAnv Toyota, in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on September 1, 2017 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Championship contender storms to the front late for a win at Charlotte


There wasn't much doubt that Martin Truex Jr. would be advancing to the Round of 8 due to his playoff point lead, but he erased all doubt on Sunday by winning at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Truex was running at 17th at one point in the race, and he was even outside of the top 10 for the first stage of the race, which hadn't happened since Daytona. It was Truex's sixth win of the season, which is two more than any driver.

Truex had a great restart after a late caution flag came out, and the race was sent to overtime. He outraced Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott in overtime and held onto the lead for the victory.

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Kevin Harvick won the first two stages of the race, and he eventually finished third behind Truex and Elliott. It was the second straight second place finish for Elliott.

Hamlin finished fourth, followed by Jamie McMurray, Daniel Suarez, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson.

Truex said it was a tough race, but his team never gave up and found a way to get the win.

Truex said his pit crew was "flawless," and they were able to get him in position to win the race.


'This time of year, you want to click on all cylinders," he said. "And today we did. We just did everything right. There were no mistakes. Proud of everybody and I hope we can continue it."

The win guarantees Truex a spot in the Round of 8, though he was likely going to qualify based on his playoff points. He has 64 playoff points, and the closest to him is Kyle Busch with 41.

Truex has a 34-point lead over Kyle Larson. Harvick, Elliott, Hamlin, Busch, Jimmie Johnson and McMurray round out the top eight as of now, but those rankings are fluid and can change quickly during a given race. Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will need some improvement next week at Talladega Superspeedway for the Alabama 500.