Martin Truex Jr. wins 2017 Cup Championship with Miami win

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Martin Truex Jr. wins 2017 Cup Championship with Miami win

Postby Bryce Turner » Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:36 pm

By: Bryce Turner

Race Details: Winner/Champion: Martin Truex Jr.; Track: Homestead-Miami Speedway; Laps: 267 (80,80,107); Race Name: Ford EcoBoost 400

Martin Truex Jr. won the race and championship in the season finale at Miami, where four drivers battled for the title, with the top finisher of those four drivers winning it all.

The starting positions for the championship four drivers: Truex (and Canadian crew chief Cole Pearn) 2nd, Kyle Busch 3rd, Brad Keselowski 5th and Kevin Harvick 9th. In the race battle: Denny Hamlin started from the pole.

On the first lap, Truex took the lead. An early caution followed on lap 5, when Joey Gase hit the wall. Keselowski was the only title contender to pit under the yellow, taking four fresh tires after pitting from eighth.

Three circuits after the restart, on lap 13, Kyle Larson took the lead from Truex. Next lap, Keselowski moved up with the fresher tires to take the championship lead with second on the track.

Late in stage one, the title contenders all in a row from second through fifth, with Keselowski, Harvick, Truex and Busch. At the end of stage one: Larson the winner, followed by Keselowski, Busch up to third, Harvick and Truex.

A short time after the restart, on lap 93, Harvick moved up to second to take the championship lead. On lap 114, Busch took the spot.

Following a round of green-flag pit stops, on lap 124, Harvick cycled ahead in second, before Busch took the spot back a handful of circuits later. A slow stop dropped Truex to eighth, but he rebounded up to fourth as the title contenders continued to run in a row. All this while Larson continued to lead.

With 19 to go in stage two, caution when Danica Patrick got loose and hit the wall, collecting Kasey Kahne, and setting off a fire under the hood of Patrick’s #10 Ford. Patrick running her final race in the #10. She announced this weekend that she’ll run two more races to end her career next year, the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500.

Harvick took the title lead when he moved up to second in the battle off pit road. On the restart, Truex moved up to second. Larson went on to win the stage, followed by Truex, Harvick, Busch and Keselowski.

Truex won the race off pit road. On the restart, Truex, Busch and Harvick first through third, with Keselowski back in ninth. A little while later, on lap 178, Busch took the lead.

With under 70 to go, some varying pit strategies for the title contenders. Truex, Harvick and Keselowski pitted as part of a two stop strategy from that point in the race, while Busch stayed out for a one stop strategy.

With 51 to go, Busch pitted, giving Truex the top spot. The drivers on the two stop strategy hoping for a timely caution. And a timely caution they got.

With 40 to go, yellow flag with some irony as Kurt Busch spun around, leaving his brother Kyle behind two other title contenders with all the leaders now planning to pit.

Truex restarted first, followed by Harvick, Busch, and Keselowski further back in seventh.

On the restart, Busch dropped to fourth behind Joey Logano, before starting to gain ground on the leaders. With 18 to go, Busch passed Harvick for second.

A close battle ensued in the closing laps, with Busch trying to make a pass on Truex. But, Truex held him off, winning the race and the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series championship. Busch, Larson, Harvick and Chase Elliott rounded out the top five. Keselowski finished seventh.

This is Truex’s first career championship, also the first for his Canadian crew chief Cole Pearn. First championship for Furniture Row Racing, a team based out of Denver, Colorado, while most teams are based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 25th in his final Cup race before retiring. With no ride for next season, Matt Kenseth stepping away after this year, he finished 8th.
Bryce Turner is chief NASCAR correspondent for
Bryce Turner
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