RICHMOND, Va. — Martin Truex Jr. passed Kyle Busch with 25 laps to go and won his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series playoff race Saturday night.
The victory completed a redemptive finish for Truex, the championship leader coming into the race. He was leading with 87 laps remaining when Ricky Stenhouse Jr., running on fresher tires, spun him out, allowing Busch to sail by for the race lead.
Truex dropped only to third under the resulting caution, then gradually reeled his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate in and pulled away.
"To spin and win is pretty incredible. I've never done anything like that in my life," Truex said in Victory Lane.
The victory was his series-high sixth of the season and the 15th in 28 races for the Gibbs cars. They also finished in the top four spots, with Busch hanging on for second followed by teammates Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones. Pole-sitter Brad Keselowski was fifth.
Truex also gained a sweep of the season at Richmond, where his victory in April was his first in 81 career starts on a short track.
Busch anticipated that Truex would catch him before the night was over.
"I don't think we were as good as him all night long," Busch said, who along with Kevin Harvick assured himself a spot in the second stage of the playoff, which begins after next weekend's race at Charlotte.
Hamlin said he was not at all surprised by his team's domination.
"I think I knew that's who we were going to be racing when it was all said and done," he said. "The 19 just had such a strong car here on the long run over the last few years, we knew that was going to be the one to beat. ... Great team day overall. Great points day for us."
Keselowski knew going in that his car was better on short runs, and it proved true.
"We just weren't quite as fast as the Gibbs cars," Keselowski said, especially on long green-flag runs.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT
Hot: Truex, the Gibbs teams, and Ryan Newman, who squeaked into the playoffs and finished sixth.
Also, while still running up front, Kyle Busch has now gone 14 races since his last victory on June 2 at Pocono.
Not: Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman.
Byron started the night ninth in points but finished 25th. Bowman started the night 11th in points and finished 24th.