September 9, 2017, by Kay Presto, www.carsandcompetition.com —
In an exciting overtime restart of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway, Kyle Larson powered his No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS to the lead to capture his fourth win of the 2017 season, and fifth of his MENCS career. Larson led three times for 53 of the 404 laps, including the final five trips around the 0.75-mile track. A super-fast pit stop put him in front for the final overtime restart, and he was able to take the lead and collect the win.
“I’ve got the greatest team out here and definitely the best pit crew,” said Larson in Victory Lane. “That showed tonight. I can’t thank those guys enough. They were money all night long to gain spots. This win is a huge congrats to them. The Target Chevy was pretty good all night.
We definitely stole the win, I guess you could say, or our pit crew I felt like stole the win because they got me off as the leader,”
Rounding out the top five finishing positions were Joey Logano (Ford) in second, Ryan Newman, (Chevrolet) Kurt Busch (Ford) was fourth, and Denny Hamlin (Toyota) was fifth.
It looked like it was Martin Truex, Jr.’s race to win. He had won two of the stags during the race, and was leading the pack four laps from the finish when Derrick Cope lost control and slid along the wall, bringing out a caution. During that caution, both Larson and Truex, Jr. pitted for fresh tires and fuel. Larson’s crew got him out that second quicker, so he grabbed the lead, with Truex, Jr. on his tail.
Two laps from the finish, Denny Hamlin, racing right behind Truex, Jr., tapped his splitter on the right rear side of Truex Jr.’s Toyota, sending Martin into the wall.
When Truex, Jr. was presented with the NASCAR trophy for winning the regular national championship, he stated that caution for Cope should never have happened. That driver was running twenty laps down; he should never have been in this race.”