Harvick wins pole at Richmond Raceway

Rex Christensen
April 17, 2019

Martin Truex Jr. won the Toyota Owners 400 from Richmond Raceway on Saturday night for his first win of the season.

The format was three rounds of five minutes each and unlike recent qualifying sessions there was no controversy with drivers waiting too long to go out on track and miss putting up an official lap time.

With the No. 4 of SHR teammate Harvick closing, a move by Joey Logano forced Bowyer's hand to give up second place to fall into third.

Logano got to Truex's back bumper at the white flag and put a sense of deja vu on the assembled crowd, as it appeared he might bump Truex out of the way for the win just as he did six months ago at Martinsville.

"We drove up to (Truex), and you get awful tight behind people", he said. Three weeks in a row I felt like we had a auto that could win the race and we haven't won. "Tonight we didn't have the best auto, but we've lost some here with the best vehicle".

"I was struggling the last 40 laps". I was just real, real tight that last run.

But his opponents down the stretch weren't flawless either and, as Truex noted, "Being out in front was important".

"It was really just more congestion", Harvick said. This time, however, Logano ran out of time to seal the deal and collect the trophy.

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Logano, who finished second at.17 seconds back, said, "Ran out of time there. Starting getting there, but got tight and couldn't turn underneath him". Absolutely", he said. "You can go through the whole beginning stretch of the season - we've had a really good stretch to the beginning of this season and unfortunately we're coming up to one of my most favorite race tracks in the world, Talladega, in a couple weeks, that can certainly end that momentum at any particular moment and knock you down off your pedestal or whatever you want to call it.

Truex inherited the lead from Kyle Busch when Busch was busted for speeding on pit road during pit stops on Lap 128 of 400.

Kyle Busch finished eighth to push his top-10 streak to 11 races.

When they all had new tires and enough fuel to finish, Truex was back in front, followed by Bowyer, Logano, Harvick and Hamlin. Besides his success in the Cup series, Busch has started four races in the Truck series and won them all, and won three of four Xfinity races.

Joe Gibbs said he can't explain his team's dominant start to the season, but he's going to enjoy it while it lasts. "But I also know in pro sports it's very hard to stay up there".

Failing inspection twice were the cars of Chase Elliott (who qualified seventh), Denny Hamlin (18th), and Matt Tifft (20th).

"We really closed on the leaders there at the end", Hamlin said of his top-five finish.

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