The NASCAR Cup Series honored America’s first responders in Playoff Race #2 as Martin Truex Jr. claims the win at Richmond Raceway Saturday night, September 11th.
On the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States of America the top divers in NASCAR raced in the Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders. The night included pre-race ceremonies that honored the innocent victims and heroes from that day and the days, weeks and years to follow in America. Many of the cars also had patriotic paint schemes to pay honor to the date as well.
Kyle Larson was supposed to start on the pole with Denny Hamlin next to him. However, Kyle failed pre-race inspection and had to start from the rear of the field as a result. That moved Martin Truex Jr. forward to join Denny creating a Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) front row for the star of the race. It also gave Denny control of the start of the race.
When the green flag waived Martin Truex Jr. reached the start/finish line before the Denny, then control car. That gave Martin a penalty to start the race forcing him to have to pass through pit row. It moved Martin to the back of the pack just a couple of laps into the race.
Denny appeared to be on his way to winning back-to-back races to start the NASCAR post-season. He won race one of the Playoffs the previous week at Darlington. Denny seemed to carry that momentum through winning stages one and two of race two while leading a race-high 197 laps in the race. However, following the final sequence of green-flag pit stops Martin Truex Jr. managed to take the lead of the race with 51 laps remaining. He would be able to hold that lead and claim his third career win at Richmond Raceway. It’s his first win in the 2021 NASCAR Playoffs and fourth win of the 2021 season.
Martin’s teammates Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell gave JGR a lock on the top three spots finishing in second and third places respectively. Chase Elliott claimed fourth place with Joey Logano rounding out the top five. See the complete race results for the Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders race here.
Martin Treux Jr. joins his JGR teammate Denny Hamlin with an automatic advance to the Round of 12 in the Playoffs by winning a race in the Round of 16. Kyle Larson fought back from his penalty move to the back to start the race to finish in sixth place. That gave him enough points to clinch his spot in the Round of 12 as well. See the complete NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Standings here.
The next race is the Round of 16 elimination race. The bottom four post-season drivers without a win in the Round of 16 following the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday night, September 18th will be eliminated from Playoff contention.