Martin Truex Jr Gains Third NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Win in 2017 at Kentucky Speedway

Martin Truex Jr at NASCAR Monster Energy Race at Kentucky Speedway

Martin Truex Jr and his crew celebrating their third win of the season at Kentucky Speedway

NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. and his crew took a gamble and it paid off in the State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday. With a 15-second lead over the second-place finisher, Kyle Larson, Truex and his dominant car won the race on a green-white-checkered flag restart. With Truex staying out on old tires during the caution lap, it seemed like he made a mistake not going into the pits for fresh tires.

“Oh, boy, here we go. Cole, what are we going to do?” Truex Jr said. “And he's like, ahh, we've got to stay out, so we stayed out. And then I was like, oh man, everybody pitted, we're going to be fine, don't worry, we're going to be fine. That was really the whole entire caution right there. There's all the insider info.”

Truex was dominant all night, making the right moves at the right time. Truex swept the night, winning both the first and second stages and reaching the checkered flag for his third win of the season.

This win was Truex’s first win at Kentucky Speedway and his 10th win of his career. He led for a race high, five times for 152 laps.

"It’s just...this is completely unbelievable," said Truex, who is tied with Johnson for the Cup Series lead in victories this season. "I’m so excited to win here. It felt like we had a shot last year and it got away from us on fuel mileage and just wanted to win here so, so bad after that. This is sweet redemption.”

Cole Pearn, Truex’s crew chief, had a tough decision to make at the end of the race. Keeping Truex on the track put him in position to win the race. But Pearn didn’t know how long Truex’s tires would last in the waning laps of the race.

“Going all the way back to our win at Kansas, we have been on a really good stretch of contending for wins each week,” Cole Pearn said on the #78 car and how dominant it has been.

“Sherry got sick and was battling cancer and he said, if you need to go and be with her for a couple of weeks, this car will be here when you get back. This is your car and this is your team. That is where we got going and turned things around,” Truex said of his owner, Barney Visser.

Truex’s girlfriend, Sherry Pollex was battling Ovarian cancer in 2014. Visser said to Truex that he could take time off if needed, which really helped Truex turn it around and start his dominant start.

Martin Truex Jr doing a burnout at NASCAR Monster Energy Race at Kentucky Speedway

Martin Truex Jr celebrating his win with a burnout on his tires that won him the race

Kyle Larson finished in second place. He started in 40th place and came all the way to third by the time the first stage ended. With new tires, Larson was able to charge ahead and finish as the runner-up.

"Yeah, I don’t know what we could have done to beat him," said Larson on Truex. "He was obviously pretty fast with the lead there. It would have been fun to get to race him because I felt like I had the second-best car today, and it would have been interesting to get a restart with him earlier and get to hang with him that last run there.

Chase Elliott finished in third place and moved up to fifth place in the point standings.

“Yeah, we had a solid night. I would say it wasn't perfect, it wasn't phenomenal, but it was a well-executed night on pit road and on that last restart, I thought, so that was nice and came home with a solid top 5,” Elliott said.

Kyle Larson continues to lead the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Standings with 710 points and 13 playoff points. Martin Truex Jr. currently sits in second place, one point back of Larson with 709 points and 28 playoff points. Kyle Busch is in third place with 609 points and 4 playoff points.

The next race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be the Overton’s 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.