Martin Truex Jr. may not have been as potent as we are used to seeing in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series regular season, as he only has one win entering Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, but he got the Playoffs started off on the right foot with a Stage 1 Win on Sunday.
This marks Truex’s third Stage Win of the year.
Jimmie Johnson finished runner-up in Stage 1 in the half Richard Petty, half Dale Earnhardt Sr. throwback scheme.
Chase Elliott, who led the most laps in Stage 1 with 81, came home third in the opening Stage of the race, while Denny Hamlin ended up fourth.
Kurt Busch and the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing team played the most brilliant strategy in the Stage, as he was a 14th-place car before the caution came out for Brad Keselowski’s shredded tire on lap 80.
While the majority of the field hit pit road for fresh tires, Busch stayed on track to hopefully gain and maintain track position. The Playoff contender went from no Stage Points in sight, to snagging six of them in Stage 1.
Alex Bowman, Joey Logano, William Byron, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-10 in Stage 1.
Ryan Blaney, who started at the rear of the field and was docked 10 championship points when an improperly mounted ballast was discovered on his car in pre-race, has rallied to 14th at the end of Stage 1. He and the No. 12 team will look to keep moving up through the field.
The NASCAR Playoff drivers who were running outside the top-16 at the conclusion of Stage 1 were: Cole Custer (17th), Aric Almirola (18th), Matt DiBenedetto (28th) and Brad Keselowski (31st).
Stage and Playoff Points Awarded in Stage 1:
|Finish||Driver||Stage Points||Playoff Points|
|1||Martin Truex Jr.||10||1|
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