ON THE TRACKS Saturday’s auto racing news


Truex Jr. holds off Logano at Richmond


Martin Truex Jr. held off Clint Bowyer in a long duel and then Joey Logano for four laps to win the NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night.

Truex gave Joe Gibbs Racing its sixth victory in nine races this season and won for the first time in his career on tracks shorter than a mile.

Truex regained the lead for the last time after green-flag pit stops that started with just more than 80 laps to go. With about 40 to go, Bowyer nearly caught him, but Truex never let him pass and finally, Bowyer relinquished the second spot to Joey Logano, who seemed to have the faster car of the top two.

But Truex expertly navigated lapped traffic and never let him pass to win for the first time in 81 starts in the Cup series on a short track. It’s his 20th career victory and 17th in the last four seasons.

Logano held on for second. Bowyer was third and Kevin Harvick fourth, giving Stewart-Haas Racing two top-four finishers. Local favorite Denny Hamlin was fifth.

The leaderboard got shuffled beginning on Lap 318 when the cars running up front began pitting under a green flag.

When they all had new tires and enough fuel to finish, Truex was back in front, followed by Bowyer, Logano, Harvick and Hamlin. Brad Keselowski dropped to eighth during the cycle and Kyle Busch, seeking his third victory in a row on the 0.75-mile, D-shaped oval, his fourth of the season and second in a row, fell back to 10th.


Force duo dominate at SpringNationals


John and Brittany Force topped qualifying Saturday in the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway, the first time a father-daughter duo has swept the nitro categories.

The 69-year-old John Force led the Funny Car field with a 3.888-second lap at 319.29 mph on Friday in a Chevy Camaro SS.

Brittany Force also had her best Top Fuel run Friday, a track-record 3.661 at 332.18.

“My dad and I haven’t done anything yet side-by-side, but really I’m looking for a win with him this season,” she said. “It’s a father-daughter year so we’re looking to end up in that winner’s circle together.”

John Force has a record 16 Funny Car season titles.

“This sport brings me together with my children,” he said. “That’s what I love about NHRA drag racing. We’re one big family. But to have a moment with her, that her and I can share together, you really become a lot closer, believe it or not.”


Rossi goes for second straight win from pole


Alexander Rossi will try to win his second consecutive race through the streets of Long Beach from the pole.

The defending race winner snagged the top starting spot for today’s race as the qualifying session ended. He won from the pole last year. The Andretti Autosport driver scored victories in three of the four times he’s started an IndyCar race out front.

Scott Dixon qualified second Saturday, his best starting position at Long Beach, followed by the Team Penske trio Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud. Graham Rahal was sixth for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

The Fast Six qualifying was split evenly between Honda and Chevrolet, but the Honda drivers represented three different teams, including Chip Ganassi Racing.

The car owner was visibly upset when Dixon’s rookie teammate Felix Rosenqvist crashed during the second round of qualifying. Rosenqvist was second fastest when he went off course into a tire barrier and the penalty for causing a caution was the loss of his two fastest qualifying laps.


Bottas captures pole for Chinese Grand Prix


Valtteri Bottas claimed the pole position for today’s Chinese Grand Prix with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton claiming the second spot on the grid. Bottas and Hamilton are the series leaders after the first two races of the season.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will third with teammate Charles Leclerc alongside on the second row from Saturday’s qualifying.

The two Red Bulls cars with Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly will make up the third row in what Formula One is billing as its 1,000th Grand Prix dating from 1950.

Alexander escaped uninjured from a stunning crash in practice on Saturday. His Red Bull Toro Rosso team did not have enough time to fix the batted car for qualifying.

Associated Press

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