Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 19 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, captured the checkered flag in the Federated Auto Parts 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race to complete the season sweep at Richmond Raceway (Richmond). Truex has now won back-to-back races for the first time in his career to start the Monster Energy Playoffs. It was his sixth victory of the season, and 25th Cup win of his career.
“Just an unbelievable job by all my guys. Toyota, TRD, Bass Pro, Auto Owners, everybody back at the shop,” said Truex. “Had a heck of a race with Kyle (Busch) and Denny (Hamlin) all night long rally, and we just kept plugging away at it, as we always do. Man, to sweet Richmond finally is pretty awesome, as much as we’ve led here coming into this year, and just thanks to everybody. It’s pretty amazing.”
The moment of the race occurred on lap 315 when Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No. 17 for Roush Fenway Racing, drove hard into Turn 3 on fresh tires and slid underneath Truex’s No. 19 Toyota Camry and sent him spinning to cause a caution. Restarting third after the fifth and final caution, Truex chased Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, for the next 50 laps before passing him on Lap 375.
“I just tried to stay out of the fence and get it straightened out,” said Truex. “Luckily, we got a caution, and we ended up in a pretty good spot when we came off pit road. We had a pretty good lead there and we were able to take advantage of it.”
“We had good speed, but it was just a matter of staying up with it and adjusting,” said Cole Pearn, Crew Chief, No. 19 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. “It’s hard when you’re racing your teammates and they’re looking at what you’re doing and you’re looking at what they’re doing and those are the guys you’re racing. Just an awesome night for JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing).”
Joe Gibbs Racing swept the first three spots with Truex, Busch, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry. The accomplishment was the seventh time that Toyota has swept the top three finishing positions, and second time this season (DAYTONA 500).
“I’ve got so much respect for Kyle (Busch) and Denny (Hamlin),” said Truex. “They are great teammates, Erik (Jones) as well. We can race hard, but we race clean. We kind of threw that out there tonight and showed everybody we can do it.”
It was the Joe Gibbs Racing’s 16th win at Richmond, which is the most in series history. The victory was the fourth consecutive for Joe Gibbs Racing in Monster Energy Series races at Richmond as Kyle Busch swept the 2018 season and Truex this season. Toyota has also won seven of the last nine Cup races at America’s Premier Short Track.
“A great night for us. I am really proud of these guys and the guys back at the shop,” said Joe Gibbs, Team Owner, Joe Gibbs Racing. “We have so many great people, and I wish they could all be here to celebrate. It was a great team effort by everybody, all four cars, just a thrill. This doesn’t happen very often. We are going to enjoy it. The Lord blessed us with a great night.”
Brad Keselowski, driver of No. 2 for Team Penske, and Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 6 for Roush Fenway Racing, finished fourth and fifth respectively. They were followed by Monster Energy Series Playoff drivers Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, and Clint Bowyer.
Richmond Raceway 2020 Season
Richmond will host the Toyota Spring Race Weekend on April 18-19, 2020. The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series returns to America’s Premier Short Track “under the lights” on April 18, 2020. This will be the first Gander Trucks race at Richmond since 2005.
For the first time in 11 years, the NTT IndyCar Series will race at Richmond “under the lights” on June 27, 2020. Richmond will host a festival headlined by the NTT IndyCar Series, welcoming fans to engage in a speed-themed weekend event on June 26-27, 2020.
The road to the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series championship will again lead through Richmond on Sept. 11-12, 2020. The Action Track will be the second race of the first round of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs for the ninth annual Federated Auto Parts 400. Richmond will also host the NASCAR Xfinity Series Regular Season Championship on Sept. 11, 2020. This will be the 28th consecutive year the fall race weekend is “under the lights” at Richmond.
INDYCAR tickets are available for purchase in-person at the Richmond Ticket Office, via phone at 866-455-7223, or online at richmondraceway.com. NASCAR tickets go on-sale to the general public on December 1.