What a wild race! I know that sounds weird considering Martin Truex Jr. dominated, but I’m not really just talking about the race itself. Seeing a guy like Truex who has no dirt experience be able to go out and drive the wheels off that truck almost masterfully was amazing to watch. It gives you respect for the caliber of drivers we have racing in the Cup series.
In contrast, we saw Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson struggle a good bit today. Harvick finished 15th, right on par with where we expected, but Larson was a huge disappointment. Larson has been struggling to get his truck and car set up correctly in practices, so you could somewhat predict this if you were a gambler, but nobody expected him to be a fringe top 20 guy and then wreck out. Maybe that says more about Niece Motorsports than it does Larson.
Overall this was as exciting as a dominated race could be. We had a lot of cautions, but because they didn’t take traditional pit stops, the pace of the race never slowed down. We got to see wrecks and then solid restart battles right away. It really felt like watching a local dirt race.
My hope is that we will get this same energy in the Cup race with fast pace racing even if a lot of cautions come out. Hopefully, the skill gap will not be as wide so one driver will not be able to drive off. Truex was clearly just better behind the wheel than everyone out there today and a lot of the dirt regulars didn’t bring good trucks this weekend.
- Stewart Friesen finished 12th and did not seem to have a good truck this week.
- Ben Rhodes, Raphael Lessard. Todd Gilliland and Chase Briscoe round out the top five.
- Hailie Deegan flirted with the top 10, but lost her footing in the final stage and was only able to bring her truck home in 19th. This was probably her best chance at a big finish this year, so that’s disappointing for fans of hers.
- John Hunter Nemechek brought some dirt track emotion when he and Matt Crafton collided. Video below.