Truex takes Sonoma win after pit strategy works to perfection

shares
comments
Truex takes Sonoma win after pit strategy works to perfection
Nick DeGroot
By: Nick DeGroot
Jun 24, 2018, 10:03 PM

Martin Truex Jr. earned his 18th career win and third victory of the season, outsmarting the competition in a game of strategy at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday.

Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Mobil 1
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Mobil 1
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet Camaro One Cure
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet Camaro One Cure

Truex led 62 of 110 laps en route to the victory, his second at Sonoma Raceway. 

"That's all Cole (Pearn). That's all him," exclaimed Truex in Victory Lane.

"I was just begging, hoping the caution wouldn't come out."

 

The race went back green for the final stage just before halfway on Lap 55/110. After short-pitting just shy of the end of the stage, Kevin Harvick and Truex once again cycled into the race lead for the restart.

As the drivers settled in for the final 55 laps, it was Harvick ahead of Truex, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch.

Back in the pack, Ryan Blaney struggled to keep up as he battled power steering issues. Ty Dillon encountered issues of his own, stuck in third gear and falling off the lead lap.

Green-flag pit stops began with 40 laps to go, but it was two laps later that Harvick pitted from the race lead. However, Truex did not follow him into the pit lane. Radio communication revealed that No. 78 crew chief Cole Pearn intended to bait the race leading No. 4 into pitting, making them think Truex was coming in the same lap. He repeatedly said “pit now” before telling him to stay out at the last second. After the fake-out, Truex continued on for nine laps before making his final stop with 29 laps to go.

Harvick’s crew chief Rodney came over the radio, telling his driver, “kinda screwed us a little bit.”

Truex emerged seven seconds adrift of Harvick, but it didn’t take him long to cut the gap to pieces.

With 22 laps to go, he passed Bowyer with ease, and then got Harvick under braking into the hairpin just two laps later.

With Truex in the catbird seat, SHR decided to swing the odds back in their favor and threw the dice, calling both Harvick and Bowyer to pit road with 18 laps to go. The hope was that a caution would occur, putting them back in control of the race.

But even without a yellow, they had the pace to regain their lost positions with Harvick retaking second-place from Chase Elliott with nine laps to go. Bowyer followed suit and moved into third soon after.

But it was cruise control for Truex at the front, crossing the finish line with a 10.5 second advantage.

Harvick, Bowyer, Elliott, Kyle and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five.

"Oh man we all make mistakes," said Harvick after the race. "We all do things split second that might be right after it all happens."

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeLaps Led
1 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 110   62
2 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 110 10.513 35
3 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 110 22.079  
4 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 110 24.410  
5 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 110 26.737  
6 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 110 34.294 1
7 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 110 36.660 1
8 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 110 41.427  
9 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 110 46.498  
10 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 110 48.053 4
11 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 110 48.343  
12 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 110 53.262  
13 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 110 55.713  
14 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 110 57.722 2
15 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 110 59.287  
16 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 110 1'06.875  
17 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 110 1'13.730  
18 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 110 1'15.925  
19 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 110 1'18.441  
20 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 110 1'19.322  
21 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 110 1'26.688  
22 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 109 1 lap  
23 96 united_states Parker Kligerman  Toyota 109 1 lap  
24 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 109 1 lap  
25 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 109 1 lap  
26 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 109 1 lap  
27 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 109 1 lap  
28 15 united_states Justin Marks  Chevrolet 109 1 lap  
29 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 109 1 lap  
30 23 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 109 1 lap  
31 51 united_states Chris Cook  Ford 109 1 lap  
32 00 united_states Tomy Drissi  Chevrolet 108 2 laps  
33 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 106 4 laps  
34 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 104 5 laps  
35 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 57 53 laps  
36 52 united_states Cody Ware  Chevrolet 42 68 laps  
37 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 33 77 laps  
38 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 33 77 laps 5

 

Next article
Denny Hamlin inherits Stage 2 win as the leaders pit early

Previous article

Denny Hamlin inherits Stage 2 win as the leaders pit early

Next article

Kevin Harvick loses out on strategy at Sonoma

Kevin Harvick loses out on strategy at Sonoma
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Sonoma
Location Sonoma Raceway
Drivers Martin Truex Jr.
Teams Furniture Row Racing
Author Nick DeGroot
Article type Race report