The Associated Press

3d ago

Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images Sport / Getty

JOLIET, Ill. – Martin Truex Jr. shot to the front after a late re-start and pulled away to give his small Furniture Row Racing team the lead in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with a victory Sunday in the playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway.

Chase Elliott appeared on his way to the victory until Michael McDowell’s spin brought a caution with five laps left.

Elliott and Truex came in to pit, with non-Chase drivers Ryan Blaney and Kasey Kahne and Chase contender Carl Edwards staying on the track.

Truex restarted fourth and quickly got to the front and pulled away from Joey Logano on the final lap for his third victory of the season. The victory gave him a spot in the second round of the Chase when the field is cut from 16 to 12 in two weeks.

Elliott, a rookie, was third, followed by Blaney and Chase driver Brad Keselowski.