Truex Wins Playoff Opener in Las Vegas

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Martin Truex Jr. won the South Point 400 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday night.

Truex won the opening race of the playoffs by chasing down Kevin Harvick over the final run.

Truex said his team struggled with speed throughout the weekend, but a gamble in the setup by crew chief Cole Pearn helped propel them to victory.

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

“We took a gamble this weekend and qualified 24th, and for a while it wasn’t looking too smart,” Truex said.  “Got the right adjustments at the end…and at the end I was able to hustle all the way to the checkers.”

Truex was behind Harvick following the final green flag pit stops.  After Harvick struggled to get through lapped traffic, Truex was able to take the lead and run away to take the victory.

The win locked Truex into the next round of the playoffs, and he said his team can now focus on picking up stage points over the next two weeks.

“It takes the pressure off,” Truex said.  “Next two weeks we can just try to get more [playoff points], so that’s huge. Playoff points you can get will help you get to Homestead.”

Harvick settled for second after having a strong car for most of the race, but said the handling went away on his car the longer into the run it went.

“My car started to get loose and push the front, and it was just kind of in a four-wheel drift,” Harvick said.  “I knew the Gibbs cars would be tough, and Martin was just so much better on the second half of the run.”

Unofficial results:

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Chase Elliott
  5. Ryan Blaney
  6. Alex Bowman
  7. William Byron
  8. Kyle Larson
  9. Joey Logano
  10. Ryan Newman
  11. Jimmie Johnson
  12. Austin Dillon
  13. Aric Almirola
  14. Paul Menard
  15. Denny Hamlin
  16. Ty Dillon
  17. Daniel Hemric
  18. Chris Buescher
  19. Kyle Busch
  20. Daniel Suarez
  21. Matt DiBenedetto
  22. David Ragan
  23. Bubba Wallace
  24. Michael McDowell
  25. Clint Bowyer
  26. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  27. Ryan Preece
  28. Corey LaJoie
  29. Landon Cassill
  30. Matt Tifft
  31. Ross Chastain
  32. JJ Yeley
  33. BJ McLeod
  34. Joe Nemechek
  35. Garrett Smithley
  36. Erik Jones
  37. Reed Sorenson
  38. Joey Gase
  39. Kurt Busch