By HOLLY CAIN
NASCAR Wire Service
You could say NASCAR’s stop at Dover (De.) Motor Speedway was “All in the Family;” a kin-to-win kind of weekend. Martin Truex Jr. answered his younger brother Ryan’s NASCAR Xfinity Series victory on Saturday with a win in Monday’s rain-delayed Wurth 400 NASCAR Cup Series race – the fourth win of his career at the one-mile oval he considers his “home track.”
Truex, who started 17th in the 36-car field after qualifying was cancelled due to weather, methodically worked his way forward in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. The 42-year-old New Jersey native finally took the lead for the first time with 69 laps remaining and led all but one of those final laps to claim his first points-paying victory of the season, ending a 54-race winless streak.
He and his JGR pit crew ultimately had to earn the win with pit strategy and pit execution. On a pit stop during the race’s final caution period, Truex’s team opted to put only right-side tires on his Toyota. With the quick stop, he was able to beat the field back out to the track and then on the ensuing re-start – with seven laps to go – hold off a hard-charging Ross Chastain, whose No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet had taken four fresh tires on the stop.
“It feels incredible,’’ Truex said. “I feel like we’ve been close a bunch of times, that’s for sure. Felt today, with that caution, what’s going to happen here and then good call by [crew chief] James [Small] to take two (tires) and then I was able to get a pretty good re-start.
“Just thanks to everybody that stuck with me. … we knew we could do this. We’ve shown we can lead laps and have dominated races and it just never all came together. I’ve said we just had to keep doing what we were doing and not overthink it.’’
Chastain, who took his fourth stage win of the season, finished a slight .505-seconds behind Truex but was unable to make up any real ground on the leader in the closing laps after passing Ryan Blaney, who also took only two tires on that final stop.
“Gosh, so close again,’’ said Chastain, who led 98 laps. “It’s surreal to continue to race against my all-time heroes.’’
Penske Racing’s Blaney finished third – his sixth Top-10 of the season and second Top-3 in the last two races. Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron led a race best 193 laps and won a series best sixth stage, to finish fourth. It marks the second time he’s led the most laps in a race this year but not claimed the victory.
Truex’s JGR teammates Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell finished fifth and sixth.
Tyler Reddick, Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher and Josh Berry rounded out the Top-10. Berry was driving the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for Alex Bowman, who suffered a back injury racing sprint cars last Tuesday.
It marks the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion Truex’s 32nd career win and first since a victory at Richmond, Va. on Sept. 11, 2021. Snapping the streak and sharing Dover’s Victory Circle with his younger brother, Ryan, truly made the week for the veteran.
“It’s just special, you know,’’ Truex said. “This is a special place. Good day for my family and to see Ryan win Saturday he’s worked so hard for so long to get good opportunities and it’s awesome.
“And then for us, we’ve given away a few here over the years so it’s nice to see it come around our way. Just excited and had a hot rod. Just needed to get it out front.”
The NASCAR Cup Series returns to competition Sunday at Kansas Speedway in the AdventHealth 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Kurt Busch won this Spring race in 2022.
Categories: NASCAR Cup Series, Race Recap
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