This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
Martin Truex Jr. put together the fastest car to overcome Kevin Harvick in the final miles of Sunday night's South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The win is the perfect way to start off his championship hunt, and he's now safely through to the next round of eliminations. The win was his fifth of the season and puts him alone atop the rest of the field in that category. While Truex, Harvick and others saw good nights, for championship hopes, others didn't fare so well. Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Erik Jones all felt the opposite end of the emotional spectrum with poor nights. All three will be looking to turn things around this week.
Next up in the round of 16 is Richmond International Raceway where Truex dominated earlier this season to win. The race will be the second of three in the first elimination round. Truex led 186 laps there in April. Kyle Busch and Joey Logano took the stage victories that night but couldn't overcome Truex as he raced on to the win.
Martin Truex Jr. – Truex hit a home run in the first round of championship playoffs, winning at Las Vegas and guaranteeing his spot in the round of 12. The win was the fifth of the season for him. He led 32 laps and pieced together the fastest car late in the fuel run to take the lead in the final laps and drive to victory. It was Truex's first