Late-Race Caution Costs Truex Jr. Victory in Richmond; Jones Finishes 6th
September 9, 2017
Martin Truex Jr. looked to be on his way to winning Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway until a late-race caution and an ensuing crash ended his chances.
Truex and the No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota led a race-high 198 laps and seemed to be cruising toward victory when a caution with three laps remaining shuffled the deck.
The leaders all pitted for fresh tires for the overtime shootout but Truex lost a position on pit road and restarted second in the non-preferred outside lane. On the final lap, the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) made hard contact with the rear of Truex’s No. 78 Toyota, sending it into the outside wall. Truex was credited with a 20th-place finish.
Truex, the regular season champion, will start the 10-race playoffs as the No. 1 seed.
Erik Jones and the No. 77 SiriusXM Toyota were in position to score their fourth consecutive top-five finish leading up to the overtime restart. He came into the pits running fourth and lined up fifth for the two-lap dash to the checkered flag. Unfortunately, a missed the shift between second and third gears on the restart dropped Jones two spots but he crossed the finish line in sixth place. It was the sixth straight top-10 finish for the rookie driver.
Kyle Larson won the race. The balance of the top 10 finishers were: Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Jones, Daniel Suarez, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Chase Elliott.
The next race is Sept. 17 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
A complete news release with quotes for each driver will follow.