Truex wins dramatic fuel-mileage race at Watkins Glen

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Truex wins dramatic fuel-mileage race at Watkins Glen
Lee Spencer
By: Lee Spencer
Aug 6, 2017, 9:38 PM

Patience paid off for Martin Truex Jr. on Sunday at Watkins Glen International.

Race winner Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Race winner Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Race winner Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Race winner Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Race winner Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota

As cars ran out of gas around the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota, Truex conserved fuel over the final 25 laps for his fourth win of the season and his first victory at the Glen. 

Truex led a race-high 24 laps and took the lead from Ryan Blaney for the last time on Lap 88. His advantage was .414-seconds over Matt Kenseth coming to the finish line. 

“I can’t believe that, it was so stressful,” Truex said. “I never had to let guys go for the lead. I’ve always wanted to win here, it’s a special place. This is a big one for the team.”  

Rookie Daniel Suarez finished third followed by Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Blaney, AJ Allmendinger and Erik Jones.

Truex took the lead from Suarez out of Turn 1 when the race returned to green on Lap 44. Kenseth, Blaney, Jones, Hamlin, Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Allmendinger rounded out the top 10.  

Entering the outer loop, Kyle Busch made contact with Keselowski and went off the course. Keselowski dropped to 33rd, Busch to 34th. The No. 18 team brought Busch in for tires. 

Blaney passed Suarez for second on Lap 45, Kenseth, Hamlin, Jones, Kurt Busch, Allmendinger, Larson and Kahne rounded out the top 10. 

By Lap 48, Truex’s lead was 3.1-seconds over Blaney. The No. 78 Furniture Row  Racing Toyota extended his advantage to 4.2-seconds on Lap 49. Blaney, Suarez, Kenseth, Hamlin, Jones, Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Larson and Kahne completed the top 10 as Keselowski pitted for tires.  Jones passed Hamlin for fifth on Lap 50. 

On Lap 51, NASCAR called a caution after Landon Cassill cut a left front tire. Truex’s lead was 5.6-seconds over Blaney. Suarez, Kenseth, Jones, Hamlin, Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Larson, Kahne, Clint Bowyer, Logano, Johnson, Elliott and McDowell rounded out the top 15. 

The leaders pitted on Lap 53. Keselowski remained on the track and assumed the lead. Bowyer, and McMurray took fuel only and advanced to second and third, respectively.  Blaney, Truex, Buescher, Suarez, Kenseth, Elliott, Kurt Busch, Johnson, Austin Dillon, Danica Patrick, Hamlin and Kahne rounded out the top 15.  

Kevin Harvick’s front end was destroyed when he exited his pit and was nailed by Brett Moffitt. He restarted 32nd. After completing the first lap, Danica Patrick spun off the track with an assist by Kyle Busch. She was running 16th. 

Bowyer passed McMurray for second on Lap 59. Keselowski was able to move out to a .763-second advantage — his largest since taking the point. On fresh tires, Truex easily passed McMurray for third. Blaney, Kenseth, Suarez, Elliott and Buescher completed the top 10 coming to Lap 60. Truex blew past Bowyer entering the bus stop for second-place. Blaney passed McMurray for fourth. 

Truex reeled Keselowski in on Lap 63. The No. 78 car moved to the inside of the No. 2 Ford entering Turn 7 for the lead on Lap 64. Keselowski held onto second followed by Bowyer, Blaney, Kenseth, McMurray, Suarez, Elliott, Kyle Busch and Chris Buescher. 

With 25 laps remaining, Kurt Busch ran 11th with Hamlin, Kahne, Johnson and Allmendinger in tow. Jones, McDowell, Lognao, Austin Dillon and Ty Dillon rounded out the top 20. 

Suarez nudged McMurray off the track on take sixth on Lap 68. Larson pitted on the same circuit. He dropped to 32nd. 

Truex extended his lead over Keselowski by 1.6-seconds with 20 laps to go. Bowyer was third followed by Blaney, Kenseth, Suarez, McMurray, Kyle Busch, Elliott, Kurt Busch, Hamlin, Kahne,  Buescher, Jones and Allmendinger. Hamlin passed Kurt Busch for 10th on the next lap.

Logano pitted with 15 laps remaining. Truex held a 1.5-second lead over Keselowski. Blaney passed Bowyer for third as the No. 15 Ford was saving fuel. Keselowski went wide open to the inside of Truex in the bus stop with 14 laps to go. The No. 78 also went into fuel conservation mode. 

With 10 laps to decide the race, Keselowski held onto a 2.4-second lead over Truex who begged the team to let him go harder. Blaney was third followed by Bowyer, Kenseth and Suarez. Kyle Busch passed McMurray for seventh entering Turn 1. Elliott, Hamlin, Kahne, Kurt Busch, Jones, Allmendinger and Buescher rounded out the top 15. 

Elliott pitted from ninth on Lap 81. His Hendrick teammate Kahne also came in. With eight laps to go, Blaney passed Truex for second. Bowyer was fourth, Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Suarez, McMurray, Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Jones, Allmendinger, Buescher, McDowell and Johnson rounded out the top 15. 

Kyle Busch moved passed Kenseth and Bowyer on Lap 84 for fourth-place. He pitted on Lap 85 for a splash-n-go. Keselowski held the point by 5.8-seconds over Blaney, Truex, Bowyer, Kenseth, Suarez, McMurray, Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch rounded out the top 10. 

McMurray pitted on Lap 86. Newman joined him. Keselowski gave up the lead to Blaney on Lap 87. Keselowski received a pass-thru penalty for crossing too many pit boxes on exit. Blaney pit on Lap 88 and handed over the lead to Truex. 

Truex held the point coming to the white flag by 1.1-seconds over Kenseth. Suarez, Hamlin and Bowyer followed.  

“I’m a little bit lost for words at the moment just because I’ve been thinking about this one (girlfriend Sherry Pollex) a long time – all weekend, all day,” Truex said.

“Then, at the end there just it’s so hard there to let guys pass you for the lead. You’ve just got to listen to your crew chief and luckily for me I’ve got the best one in the business and I just believe in him so much and I just do what he says and it seems to work out. I’ve just got to thank him (Cole Pearn, crew chief). It’s been a tough week for him and thinking about his buddies parents and family ... I guess this is our time. Just can’t say enough about all of these guys and what they allowed me to do. I’m having the time of my life, that’s all I can tell you.”

Truex extended his lead by 116-points over Kyle Busch, who finished seventh.

Click on the images to see post race coverage of Martin Truex Jr. and his win and also comments from crew chief Cole Pearn:

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeLaps Led
1 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 90 2:06'57 24
2 20 united_states Matt Kenseth  Toyota 90 0.414  
3 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 90 5.115 14
4 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 90 13.989  
5 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 90 14.176  
6 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 90 14.966  
7 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 90 17.014 21
8 21 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 90 20.770 2
9 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 90 21.505  
10 77 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 90 22.694  
11 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 90 23.442  
12 95 united_states Michael McDowell  Chevrolet 90 24.278  
13 24 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 90 25.776 9
14 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 90 27.946  
15 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 90 29.455 20
16 5 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 90 30.795  
17 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 90 31.306  
18 27 united_states Paul Menard  Chevrolet 90 31.435  
19 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 90 32.178  
20 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 90 32.357  
21 43 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 90 33.146  
22 10 united_states Danica Patrick  Ford 90 33.350  
23 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 90 36.601  
24 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 90 40.923  
25 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 90 52.417  
26 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 90 66.064  
27 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 90 80.083  
28 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 90 90.666  
29 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 90 91.328  
30 33 united_states Boris Said  Chevrolet 89 1 lap  
31 15 canada Gary Klutt  Chevrolet 89 1 lap  
32 83 united_states Brett Moffitt  Toyota 89 1 lap  
33 23 united_states Corey Lajoie  Toyota 89 1 lap  
34 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 81 9 laps  
35 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 80 9 laps  
36 34 united_states Landon Cassill  Ford 78 12 laps  
37 88 united_states Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chevrolet 22 68 laps  
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