The 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase grid shrunk following Sunday’s Citizen Soldier 400 from Dover International Speedway – the first elimination race in this year’s NASCAR playoff.
Just 12 drivers are left in the Chase for the Sprint Cup after Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray and Chris Buescher were booted this weekend. Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. won the race, marking his second win of the Chase and solidifying himself as a force to be reckoned with in 2016.
Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson looked to be in line for a win at Dover when disaster struck with just 120 laps to go. The No. 48 team had problems refueling the car and the jackman jumped over the wall too early, forcing Johnson to serve a stop-go penalty that put him a lap down. Johnson never recovered from the snafu and turned up seventh.
With Johnson out of the picture, Truex ran out front for the race’s remainder and went mostly unchallenged. He crossed the finish line 7.527 seconds ahead of reigning 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champ Kyle Busch to take his fourth win of the year and move into the Chase lead. Rookie Chase Elliott was third, while Chase contenders Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five.
“We’re not messing around, I guess,” Truex told NASCAR.com post-race. “I don’t know — what else can you say? We’re here to get it done, and, golly I’m telling you just the best bunch of guys you could ever ask for. It’s just amazing to drive their race cars and do what we were able to do. I’m just ecstatic.”