Martin Truex Jr. Races to Victory at Pocono for Second Win of Season

Jun 06, 2018
Source: nascar.com Mayetta native Martin Truex Jr. celebrates after winning the Pocono 400 on June 3.

It seems when Martin Truex Jr. is near the front when a caution flag is raised, whomever is in the lead isn’t safe. Such was the case on June 3, after Truex was bounced to the 14th position during the Pocono 400, raced back to the second spot before gaining the lead following a caution and pulled away with seven laps to go for the victory.

“The final restart at the end of the race just played into our hands,” said the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion from the Mayetta section of Stafford Township during the post-race press conference. “We decided to stay out there when other guys pitted. Restarts are always a question mark. You just hope you do everything right.”

Kevin Harvick led for 89 laps of the scheduled 160, before Kyle Busch took over the lead on lap 126 and led Truex and Harvick through lap 138. When a bunch of cars ran over a shiny object on the first turn, NASCAR officials called for a caution on lap 139. Truex, Harvick, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson stayed on the track, while Busch and others were called in to pit road.

Upon the restart, the Furniture Row No. 78 grabbed the lead and took off. Finishing 2.496 seconds behind Truex, Larson managed to take second, while Busch finished third and Harvick swiped fourth. Earlier in the race, a bad pit stop forced Truex back to the 14th position and he had to work back to the front from there.

Truex led for 31 laps, collecting 57 points along the way. The victory was Truex’s second of the season and second at Pocono. It also was the 17th win of his career.

“It was an awesome day from everybody on the team,” he said. “We had to battle back a little bit, but in general we had a great car and everybody did a great job. I’m just happy things went our way today. It’s been rough lately.”

Heading into Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway, Truex has 487 points and sits in the fourth spot in the standings, with Busch atop the board with 624 points. Harvick is second with 537 and Joey Lagano, who finished 9th at Pocono, is third with 534 points.

Interestingly, Harvick, Busch and Truex have won 11 of the 14 Cup Series races so far this season. Logano, Clint Bowyer and Austin Dillon have won the other three.

“I feel like we’re getting back to where we were last year,” said Truex, who won eight races last season en route to the championship. “It’s always fun to win, but especially when you beat the best guys out there.”  —D.B.

 

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