Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global
Race report

Truex leads Toyota turnaround with fourth Sonoma Cup win

New tires and no mistakes helped Martin Truex Jr. cruise to victory in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.

It took 33 laps for Martin Truex Jr. to get to the lead in Sunday’s race but once he did, he didn’t deviate far from it with a fast No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

A late-race caution sent most of the lead-lap cars – including Truex – to pit road for new tires but Chase Elliott and two others stayed out on the restart with 15 of 110 laps remaining.

It took Truex less than two laps to power around Elliott to reclaim the lead and he easily held off Kyle Busch by 2.979 seconds to earn his second win of the 2023 season.

 

The victory is the 33rd of Truex’s career and his fourth at the 1.99-mile road course, the most recent coming in 2019.

The win on a road course was a dramatic turnaround for Truex and JGR, which struggled terribly on the tracks last season, the first with the Next Gen car. Last season, the highest finishing Toyota driver at Sonoma was 18th.

“It took a lot of hard work by everybody at Toyota and TRD and everybody at JGR,” Truex said. “We had to do some work with NASCAR and redesign some stuff – everybody did – and they did a good job there.

“Just hats off to my team. To be so bad here last year and come back and do that with the same car basically, it’s really unbelievable.

“We’re having a great year and I feel really good about our team. We couldn’t do it without all of our partners and all of our fans. Man, this feels incredible to have a day like that and a run like that.”

Joey Logano finished third, Chris Buescher was fourth and Elliott – on older tires – hung on to finish fifth.

Completing the top-10 were A.J. Allmendinger, Michael McDowell, Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell and Ross Chastain.

Read Also:

Stage 1

By leading at the completion of lap 25, pole winner Denny Hamlin claimed the Stage 1 win with a 2.747-second advantage over Truex. Bell ran third, Allmendinger fourth and McDowell was fifth.

Brad Keselowski was the first of the lead-lap cars to make a green-flag pit stop for fuel and new tires on lap 16. Ryan Blaney also made a stop but was penalized for speeding and had to serve a pass-through penalty.

Stage 2

Busch was leading at the completion of lap 55 with a 1.57-second advantage over Logano and was awarded the Stage 2 win.

Hamlin – and several others who stayed out during the first stage – finally made his first pit stop of the race on lap 26, never lost a lap and remained the leader.

Truex was finally able to run down and get past Hamlin for the lead in Turn 2 on lap 33. Elliott ran third, more than five seconds behind.

Stage 3

With no stage break cautions, the final stage got under way on lap 56 with Busch – who stayed out on the previous caution – still in command of the race.

On newer tires, Truex powered his way from ninth and back into the lead past Busch with 41 laps remaining in the race.

Bell and Alex Bowman were among the first to hit pit road on lap 73 for their final pit stop of the race to take new tires and fuel to make it to the finish. Hamlin followed down pit road one lap later.

Once the entire field had cycled through their stops, Truex returned to the front with 30 laps to go.

Hamlin spun out on the front straightaway and hit the wall on lap 92 to place the race back under caution. Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota suffered significant damage in the incident and he was forced to retire from the race.

 

Most of the lead-lap cars pit under the caution but Elliott was among three that remained on the track and led the way on the restart with 15 laps to go. Truex was the first car off pit road and lined up fourth.

In took less than two laps on new tires for Truex to get around Elliott and reclaim the lead.

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article Johnson: “My heart is full” as Garage 56 NASCAR hits Le Mans target
Next article 2023 NASCAR Cup Sonoma race results

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global