Martin Truex Jr. led home Brad Keselowski to take out the latest round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup at Kansas.
Truex streaked away on the final restart with two laps left in Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400 to win his first Cup Series race at the track.
Truex led a race-high 104 of 267 laps to win for the ninth time in his career and for the second time this season. Three times in the past, Truex had led the most laps in a Kansas race — without winning.
But on this Saturday, Truex had the speed and the closing power. On successive restarts at the end of the race, which produced an event-record-tying 15 cautions, Truex jumped in front of polesitter Ryan Blaney and stayed at the head of the pack.
Brad Keselowski rallied from two laps down to finish second, followed by Kevin Harvick, Blaney and Kyle Busch. Series leader Kyle Larson came home sixth.
The race was marred by several incidents, the biggest that saw driver Aric Almirola taken to hospital with spinal injuries.
Joey Logano and Danica Patrick were racing through Turns 1 and 2, when Logano’s Ford suddenly snapped to the left, turning Patrick’s car hard into the outside wall.
Patrick’s car erupted in flames, and she and Logano rode the outside wall until, a moment later, Aric Almirola’s No. 43 Ford barreled into the wreck.
NASCAR stopped the race while safety workers cut the roof off Almirola’s Fusion and extricated him from the car. They placed Almirola on a backboard and rolled him to a waiting ambulance on a gurney. Almirola was airlifted to the University of Kansas Medical Center for observation.
He was later diagnosed with a compression fracture to his T5 vertebra, the good news is that Almirola is mobile, and has been released from a Kansas-area hospital.