Truex Jr. Breaks 54 race winless streak in Cup
By Dave Hascall
DOVER, Del – In what would be considered Martin Truex, Jr.’s, home track, the Mayeta, New Jersey driver broke a 54-race winless streak, Monday. Truex, driving a Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Toyota, claimed the victory over a hard-charging Ross Chastain in the Wȕrth 400.
Kyle Busch sped away from his pole position and led a few laps early but was never a factor after a pit-lane speeding penalty. Chevrolet driver William Byron and Denny Hamlin battled early on in Stage 1 as the hard-charging Chastain simply ran over the slower car of Brennan Poole. Poole, making his first Cup start in three years, slowed for the first turn and Chastain drove right into the rear of Poole’s Ware Racing Ford. Poole turned into the wall and collected Kyle Larson’s Chevrolet. Larson had been the fastest car at that point and would be driving a wounded Camaro the rest of the day. Chastain has taken lots of flak over his aggressive driving style over the past two seasons. More to follow on that incident!
Byron won the first stage but Chastain was clearly going to be a factor the rest of the day. The second stage went caution free, as Chastain mounted a charge as Byron faded to second and Truex, Jr. was finally starting to flex his muscles.
The third stage was a two-man race as Chastain and Truex raced hard at the front. Truex moved to the lead after the last round of green flag pit stops but Chastain was right there with him. With 21 laps to go, Truex moved past the lapped car of Larson but Larson made things very difficult for Chastain, who he felt ruined his day in the earlier accident. Did that impact the win? We’ll never know, as a caution appeared for Joey Logano’s crash with 14 laps to go. Back on pit lane, Truex and Ryan Blaney took two tires but Chastain chose four. Truex held on for the win with Chastain in hot pursuit. Blaney, Byron, and Denny Hamlin followed.
Truex’s brother Ryan won the Xfinity race on Saturday. It was the younger brother’s first trip to Victory Lane in NASCAR.