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Martin Truex Jr. wins Bristol Truck dirt race

Martin Truex Jr. enters rarefied air after his Truck Series victory on the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt, becoming the 36th driver to win a race in each of NASCAR’s three national series.

Martin Truex Jr. is now part of a prestigious club after winning Monday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on the dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Truex Jr., the 2017 Cup Series champion and two-time Xfinity Series champion, becomes the 36th driver to win a race in each of NASCAR’s three national series.

MORE: Bristol Truck dirt results

Originally scheduled for Saturday night, the Truck race was twice postponed over the weekend due to inclement weather.

Driving the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra, Truex Jr. swept both stages and led a race-high 105 laps.

“I guess they had to put Bristol on dirt to get me back to Victory Lane here,” Truex told Fox Sports in an echo of previous comments leading into the weekend. “It’s been a long time. That was a blast. I’m still really surprised.

”... I kept thinking, ‘What’s gonna happen next? Am I gonna get a flat tire or something stupid?’ This 51 is pretty much used to being in Victory Lane. There’s a lot of pressure there, but I’m glad we could get it done.”

Ben Rhodes, Raphael Lessard, Todd Gilliland and another Cup regular, Chase Briscoe, completed the top five finishers.

Rhodes had one more opportunity to challenge Truex for the win, but missed a shift on the final restart with 12 laps to go.

“We were running him back down there the last few laps, but, yeah, just (had) the worst restart of my life,” Rhodes told Fox Sports.

Truex and Briscoe were among six Cup regulars that ran the Truck race ahead of their own 250-lap race on Monday afternoon (4 p.m. ET, Fox).

Another of them, Kyle Larson, is the pre-race favorite for the Cup event. But he was among those impacted by the Truck race’s 12 cautions.

On Lap 99, Larson ran into the slowing truck of Mike Marlar high in Turn 3, spun down the track, and was then hit by an oncoming Danny Bohn. Larson and Bohn were both checked and released from the infield care center.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.

STAGE 2 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Raphael Lessard scored his first top five run of the year with a third-place finish. He had finished 23rd or worse in the season’s first four races ... NASCAR on NBC analyst Parker Kligerman scored a top-10 finish, coming home eighth for Henderson Motorsports.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: John Hunter Nemechek’s season-opening streak of top-10 finishes ended with a crash at Lap 49. A bump from behind by Matt Crafton sent Nemechek spinning in Turn 1. Seconds after Nemechek came to rest near the wall, Derek Kraus slid into him. Both Nemechek and Kraus were eliminated.

NOTABLE: Monday’s race was only Truex’s third career Truck start. He made one start in both 2005 and 2006.

NEXT: The Trucks return Saturday, April 17 at Richmond Raceway (1:30 p.m. ET, FS1). Grant Enfinger won there last September.