Martin Truex Jr. takes dominant win at Fontana

Martin Truex Jr. passed Kyle Busch for the race lead with 32 laps to go and never looked back, winning the Auto Club 400.

"We just kept fighting hard and never gave up on it (car)," said Truex in Victory Lane. "I knew we had a really good race car and honestly after the first adjustment of the race it really came alive. From there it was just about managing my tires and being smart. We had a little trouble getting beat out of the pits and that was tough and fell back to fifth and had to work our way back up and I had to take care of our front tires."

The third and final stage kicked off with Kyle Busch out front, but the run was brief as a cut tire for David Ragan brought out another caution with 72 laps to go.

Despite the short run, the field decided to come down pit road for fresh rubber. William Byron won the race off after a two-tire call, but restarted second due to Kasey Kahne staying out.

However,Busch made quick work of them both, while the two Penske cars split he and Truex. Truex would eventually pass them both and set his sights on the race lead. With 39 laps to go, he was able to clear Busch after running him down from two seconds back. He then made his final stop of the race two laps later.

Busch followed him down the pit lane and narrowly beat him off, but it would all be for not. Truex took the lead back with 32 laps remaining in the race and set sail. Now struggling an ill-handling car, Busch fell back into the clutches of Kyle Larson, who went on to finish second, a full 11.6 seconds adrift of Truex.

“I’m just tight loose. I don’t know what to do with this thing. I can’t go up, I can’t go down,” complained Busch, who finished third.

The Team Penske drivers of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano rounded out the top five.

For Truex, it was his first victory of the 2018 season and the 16th of his career. He led 125 of 200 laps, winning all three stages.

"We knew we were going to be a little free on that first run and we just had to make our way through it and then we took a swing at tightening up (the car) at the first stop and we didn't touch it the rest of the day," said crew chief Cole Pearn.

"We knew would shy on the free side and we struggled being tight on all these mile and a halves and big tracks and we just had to get the car tightened back up and once we did the speed was definitely there."

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeLaps Led
1 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 200 - 125
2 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 200 11.685  
3 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 200 12.185 62
4 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 200 18.611  
5 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 200 18.769 9
6 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 200 19.307 1
7 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 200 30.752  
8 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 200 31.648  
9 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 200 33.460  
10 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 200 39.703  
11 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 199 1 lap  
12 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 199 1 lap  
13 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 199 1 lap  
14 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 199 1 lap  
15 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 199 1 lap 1
16 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 199 1 lap  
17 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 199 1 lap 1
18 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 199 1 lap  
19 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 199 1 lap  
20 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 199 1 lap  
21 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 199 1 lap  
22 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 199 1 lap  
23 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 199 1 lap  
24 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 199 1 lap 1
25 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 199 1 lap  
26 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 199 1 lap  
27 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 198 2 laps  
28 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 198 2 laps  
29 15 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 198 2 laps  
30 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 197 2 laps  
31 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 196 4 laps  
32 23 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 194 6 laps  
33 51 united_states Timmy Hill  Chevrolet 193 7 laps  
34 55 united_states Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 193 7 laps  
35 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 191 9 laps  
36 00 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Chevrolet 189 10 laps  
37 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 108 92 laps

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Fontana
Track Auto Club Speedway
Drivers Martin Truex Jr.
Teams Furniture Row Racing
Article type Race report