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Martin Truex Jr. holds off Kevin Harvick to win Southern 500

"I really feel like we've got a legitimate shot at this championship", said Truex.

Truex did what he was supposed to do, which was race the track and then the drivers. "I've led a lot of laps in my career, but something's always happened". This is a race I always wanted to win. We saw plenty of leaders as Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin left their mark on the race, but in the end, it was Martin Truex Jr. who ended up earning his second victory of 2016.

Denny Hamlin is a great driver at Darlington. "There are other issues, I guess is what I'm alluding to without getting into detail". We've had super-fast race cars. We hit a lot of short runs at the end, and that would kill us. Pagenaud had to back off to save fuel in the closing laps and lost two spots on track. "Coming in here this week, I knew we'd have a shot at it just based off the way we've been running this season, but to finally get it done and bring home the victory and go to victory lane here, it was a pretty unbelievable feeling".

Harvick, who led 214 of 367 laps, had some words for his crew, too - much angrier and pointed about their poor performance in the pits. "Just the dominant auto, and just three bad stops on pit road". "The guys in the shop and the guys in the garage are doing a great job, and the guys on pit road are doing a awful job".

"We had a shot at [the championship] past year and didn't really have the performance at the end of the season that we needed in our race cars", Truex said. Across the border, on a road course in Canada, two teenagers waged a furious drag race to the checkered flag with a bid in NASCAR's playoffs on the line for Cole Custer. We will be making predictions, breaking down the race, analyzing and just having a good time. "We can't just continuously shoot ourselves in the foot every few pit stops".

The difference? The team would point to the switch from Chevrolet to Toyota, where he has a tight alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing.

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The one that did Harvick in was on the seventh caution when he led going into pit road and came out in 12th. "The history, the tradition here, to see the Hall of Famers before the race, and talked to Cale Yarborough and all those guys, it's just awesome".

Truex Jr. made his way to the front after passing Ryan Newman, holding on in the finals laps to secure the victory. From there, however, Harvick could not chase Truex down and was forced to settle for second. 2 times for 28 laps; D. Hamlin 2 times for 13 laps; M. Kenseth 1 time for 10 laps; R. Newman 1 time for 9 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 1 lap. Truex won for the fifth time in his career. He battled back but could not catch Truex.

There are plenty of drivers with the talent of Erik Jones, William Byron or Daniel Suarez, but if they can't make a fan base fall in love with them, then what does it matter?

Keselowski is the only other driver not named Harvick to lead more than 70 total laps in the last two races, leading 200. He gave up the lead to pit on lap 163, but by the time the cycle of green-flag stops completed on lap 165, he was back up front.

Knoxville native Trevor Bayne went to the garage early after spinning out of control.

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