NASCAR Charlotte: Martin Truex Jr wins in overtime, into last eight
|Sunday, October 8th 2017, 21:05 GMT|
Martin Truex Jr booked a place in the last eight of the playoffs with his sixth victory of the season in the NASCAR Cup race at Charlotte, secured in overtime.
The Furniture Row Racing driver led 91 of 334 laps through the race despite starting 17th. He had climbed all the way to fourth by the end of stage two having shaken off some early handling issues.
Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick swept the first two stages, but he lost the lead in stage three to Truex on the run-up to the pitlane during a round of green-flag stops with 110 laps remaining.
Truex emerged ahead of the #14 Ford and led the restart, but lost the top spot to Kyle Larson after a lap 267 pitstop, trigged by a caution as an out-of-control David Ragan caught Danica Patrick.
Another caution 50 laps later was triggered by Kyle Busch who had picked up damage earlier by hitting the wall.
The leaders pitted, though Larson was held back as a tyre-carrier fell over and delayed his stop.
That meant Truex sped off for the restart with Harvick in tow and led until Busch brought out more yellow flags with another tap of the wall.
It was then Kurt Busch who spun, instantly bringing out another caution and putting the race into overtime.
Truex made it intact to the finish line with no cautions and he beat Chase Elliott, who was runner-up in stages one and two having started seventh.
Harvick finished third having led 149 laps and the first two stages, while polesitter Denny Hamlin finished fourth.
Chip Ganassi Racing's Jamie McMurray briefly led, then faded to the rear with understeer but managed to recover in the third stage to finish fifth ahead of rookie Daniel Suarez, both qualified below 15th for the race.
Suarez was the highest-finishing non-playoff contender at Charlotte.
In seventh was Jimmie Johnson, who lost places in the pitlane in stage three, ending his brief bid for victory from a starting position of 25th.
Ryan Blaney finished ahead of Kasey Kahne for eighth, while CGR's Larson finished 10th having sustained damage from that late Kurt Busch spin. The SHR #14 driver finished 22nd at the finish.
Kyle Busch ended up 29th as the lowest-placed playoff contender after multiple scrapes with the barriers in his Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Toyota.
He led 22 laps, contending for the lead in stage two, but he hit the wall in the same stage and picked up damage to end his hopes of a win.
Meanwhile, AJ Allmendinger and Chris Buescher crashed just after the chequered flag flew.
The opening round of 12 playoff race had begun an hour early with anticipated rain never arriving.