Martin Truex Jr. wins at Charlotte, Harvick an impressive third

Martin Truex Jr. started the Round of 12 like he started the Round of 16, with a win.

The Round of 12 in the NASCAR playoffs started with the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Martin Truex Jr. scored his sixth win of the season and added to his playoff points total for the Round of 8. Kevin Harvick finished third and two other playoff drivers, Ryan Blaney and Matt Kenseth, finished inside the top-12.

Martin Truex Jr.

Truex started the Round of 12 how he started the Round of 16, with a win. Truex led 91 laps in total and the final 57 laps en route to this fifth win on a 1.5-mile speedway this season.

“Just overall, it just amazing to be a part of this team, to be on the roll we’re on, have the confidence we have, have the partners we have.  I just feel like everything is just lining up the way we need it to,” said Truex after the race.

“We’ve got our eye on the prize, and we know where we want to go, and we still know there’s some hurdles in the way, so we’ll just keep focused and enjoy the good days as they come, but tomorrow starts preparing for next week and the next round for sure. ”

Next week is Talladega, the race that resulted in Truex missing the Round of 8 in 2016. This year, Truex heads into Talladega with less to worry about one year later.

“Well, we definitely want to perform next week, said Truex. “Talladega has just been a tough track for us just to finish.  I mean, last year we probably had the best car we’ve ever went there with, and we ran 20 laps and blew up.

Kevin Harvick racing Kyle Busch during the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. World Copyright: Russell LaBounty, NKP.

Kevin Harvick

Harvick led a race high 149 laps and finished third to start the Round of 12 in the NASCAR playoffs.

“That’s about where we were going to run, second or third,” said Harvick in his post-race recap from the Stewart-Haas Racing website. “We just kind of lost a little bit of the track there as the VHT started to wear off in the second half of the race.”

The finish places Harvick third in the standings, a comfortable 25 points ahead of Jamie McMurray, who holds the eighth and final transfer spot.

Ryan Blaney

Blaney finished eighth at Charlotte after running inside the top-ten for most of the race. Blaney now sits 11th in the Round of 12 standings, just five points behind Jamie McMurray in eighth.

“It’s solid,” said Blaney in his post-race recap from this personal website. “I thought we did a good job of getting better throughout the race.”

“We were a lot better at the end of the race than what we were at the beginning. That says a lot about the team and hopefully we can keep it up and run decent the next two weeks.”

Matt Kenseth

Kenseth finished 11th at Charlotte, just shy of his 15th top-ten on the season. Kenseth now sits ninth in the standings, just one point behind the cutoff.

Follow Matt on Twitter, @mattlovisa.