Martin Truex Jr., left, and Kyle Busch, right, lead the pack during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race Saturday, July 14, 2018, at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky. (Albert Cesare/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)

The Latest: Truex repeats at NASCAR Cup race in Kentucky

July 14, 2018 - 10:49 pm
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SPARTA, Ky. (AP) — The Latest on the NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway (all times local):

10:30 p.m.

Martin Truex Jr. has won the NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway, passing Brad Keselowski and then Kurt Busch on the way to repeating as champion on Saturday night.

Truex's No. 78 Toyota Camry appeared even more dominant than it was last July as he led 174 of 267 laps and swept the first two stages after starting on the pole. The defending Cup champion was always in contention in the 400-mile race, even while trailing. He became Kentucky's first repeat winner, earning his fourth victory this season and the 19th of his career.

Ryan Blaney was second and Keselowski was third, both in Fords, followed by Kyle Busch (Toyota) and Kevin Harvick (Ford).

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9:25 p.m.

Martin Truex Jr. has won the second stage of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

Truex won his fifth stage this season and flashed the same dominance that won last year's race in Kentucky. His No. 78 Toyota Camry wasn't challenged during the 80-lap segment. Kyle Busch (Toyota) was second, followed by Ryan Blaney (Ford), Kevin Harvick (Ford) and Kyle Larson (Chevy).

Larson moved his No. 42 Camaro near the lead after starting in the back of the field for missing driver introductions.

Alex Bowman, one of seven leaders in the first stage, was knocked out of the race when his No. 88 Chevy hit the wall on lap 109. He was unhurt and said the car might have broken a brake rotor.

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8:30 p.m.

Martin Truex Jr. has won the first stage of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

Truex led twice for 51 laps, including the first 37 from the pole before pitting during the first cycle of stops along with much of the 39-car field. He regained the lead and won the stage. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney and Paul Menard rounded out the top five.

Nine drivers — including Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson — stayed out longer during the stage. Logano and Johnson had reason to improve track position after starting 19th and 27th, respectively.

Three-time Kentucky winner Brad Keselowski, who started fourth, was penalized for speeding on pit road. He started the second stage 18th after getting back on the lead lap.

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7:48 p.m.

Defending champion Martin Truex Jr. is on the pole and the green flag has dropped for the NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

The reigning series champion earned his first Kentucky pole in the No. 78 Camry and leads an all-Toyota front row. Erik Jones of Joe Gibbs Racing is on the outside in the No. 20 for Saturday night's 400-mile race. Jones is coming off his first career Cup win last week at Daytona.

Kevin Harvick and three-time Kentucky winner Brad Keselowski made up the second row in Fords. Keselowski aims to continue his pattern of winning in even-numbered years on the 1.5-mile track.

Points leader Kyle Busch, a two-time Kentucky champion, rounds out the top five in the No. 18 Toyota.

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