Martin Truex Jr. scored his third win at Sonoma Raceway in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350.
Truex Jr. made it back-to-back wins at the track when he outraced Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch to the checkered flag by 1.8-seconds.
“Two years ago we had a dominant car and blew up late in the race,” Truex Jr. said of his recent Sonoma success. “To get redemption for that feels good.
“It was so tough. He (Busch) was catching us pretty good on his new tires, luckily we were able to build up enough gap when we pitted early. It was a bit of a challenge but we evened out there at the end.”
It was Truex Jr.’s fourth win of the 2019 season. He led three times for 59 laps, including the final 24
Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Matt DiBenedetto and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.
“That was it,” Busch said of his effort to run down Truex Jr. in the closing laps. “I knew I was going to be able to get close and he was going to pick up the pace…I had about a lap, then I overheated the tires and I was dropping back just trying to hold on as best I could.”
Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Erik Jones, Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer completed the top-10 finishers.
William Byron and Hamlin won the first two stages. Stage Points
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Chicagoland Speedway next Sunday afternoon.
How Truex Jr. Won: A fast race car and strategy from crew chief Cole Pearn were all the ingredients Truex Jr. needed to find Victory Lane. Once the final round of pit stops cycled through giving the lead back to Truex Jr., he was uncontested on his way to picking up another Sonoma victory.
Who Had a Good Day: Kyle Busch scored his fourth straight top-five finish this season and fifth straight top-10 finish at Sonoma…Blaney tied his best finish this season and first top-five finish at Sonoma…DiBenedetto had his best career finish and first top-five in his 156th race…Jones, who had to come from the rear of the field, has finished top 10 in four of the last five races on road courses
Who Had a Bad Day: Chase Elliott led three laps but was eliminated from the race by a blown engine…Daniel Suarez was forced to start at the rear of the field after an engine change Saturday. He worked his way to the front of the field but was ultimately derailed by some brake issues and an uncontrolled tire penalty on a pit stop…Joey Logano was plagued by electrical issues all afternoon.
What Else Happened: The biggest story of the race was the return of “The Carousel” to the Sonoma circuit. While it did throw a curveball at most drivers who had not raced on the configuration, ultimately the change didn’t play a huge impact in the competition. Sonoma featured a great deal of strategy as is usually the case that played out as the race wore on.
Quotable: “Tell the 12 that was my bad. I’m on idiot,” Kyle Busch on his in car radio after making contact with Ryan Blaney.
Notables: The 90-lap race saw no cautions outside the two for stage breaks the fewest cautions in a Sonoma race since there were two in 2012…Joe Gibbs Racing has 10 wins through 16 races and has combined with Team Penske to win 15 races this season…Truex Jr. becomes the only driver other than Jeff Gordon (1998-2000) to win back-to-back at Sonoma.