Martin Truex Jr. raced to his career-best sixth victory Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and this win is worth an automatic slot in the next round of NASCAR's playoffs. He's clearly the driver to beat in this championship race, and the reality of how close it really is seemed somewhat surreal.
Truex gave Toyota yet another victory in NASCAR's playoffs — the manufacturer is 4 for 4 so far — on a humid day at Charlotte. Truex has two wins in the playoffs and this one was the first time in this format that Toyota has won a race in this round of postseason.
Kyle Busch, winner of the last two playoff races, wrecked early in the race yet completed it in a damaged race car. Complaining most of the 500 miles of being overheated, he needed immediate medical attention when he climbed from his car.
Chase Elliott finished second for the second consecutive week and sixth time in his career. Harvick was third and Hamlin finished fourth.
Jamie McMurray was fifth, Jimmie Johnson seventh and Ryan Blaney eighth.
Kyle Larson was 10th, Matt Kenseth 11th, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 13th, Brad Keselowski 15th and Busch 29th.
Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway, where Stenhouse won in the spring. Stenhouse has won the last two restrictor-plate races this season.