NASCAR: Martin Truex Jr. scores first win since 2021 at Dover
It's the fourth win at Dover for Truex
Martin Truex Jr. scored the fourth Dover victory of his career when he kept Ross Chastain at bay over the final laps of Monday’s NASCAR Cup Series race.
Truex Jr. was leading and navigating lapped traffic ahead of Chastain in second place when Joey Logano crashed with 14 laps to go. Truex then pitted for two tires and retained the lead ahead of a restart with seven laps to go.
Chastain restarted third behind Ryan Blaney, and Blaney gave Truex a good run for the lead right after the restart. But Truex powered ahead of Blaney in the first two laps of the restart and maintained a half-second gap to Chastain for the final five laps.
“Feels incredible,” Truex said after climbing from his car. “Felt like we’ve been close a bunch of times, and we’ve gave some away for sure.”
The win comes two days after Truex’s brother, Ryan, won the first Xfinity Series race of his career at Dover on Saturday, and it snaps a 54-race winless streak for Martin Truex Jr. Until Monday, Truex’s last win had been at Richmond in September 2021.
Truex’s winless 2022 meant he missed NASCAR’s playoffs for the first time since 2014. That winless season almost a decade ago came in Truex’s first season with Furniture Row Racing after Michael Waltrip Racing lost Truex’s longtime sponsor, NAPA, following its race manipulation scandal at Richmond in 2013.
Truex won one race in 2015, and his career took off in 2016, as he won four races before winning eight races and the Cup Series title in 2017. Monday’s win was Truex’s 32nd in his career, and all but two of them have come since the 2014 season.
Ross Chastain ends Kyle Larson’s chances at a win
Larson had a fast car throughout the first part of the race but was involved in a crash on lap 80 after Chastain sent the lapped car of Brennan Poole spinning into Turn 1.
Poole’s car spun onto the apron and into the path of Larson as it came back up the track and into the outside wall. Larson was running behind Chastain at the time and had nowhere to go in the high lane as Chastain escaped the incident with his car intact.
Caution is out for an incident involving the No. 15 and No. 5 on lap 81 at @MonsterMile. pic.twitter.com/nbwPb18usr
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 1, 2023
Chastain said over the radio that he didn’t mean to spin Poole’s backmarker car, and LaCrson was understandably upset about Chastain’s move.
He showed that displeasure with Chastain with less than 20 laps to go, as Chastain was trying to chase Truex down before the caution flag. As Larson and his damaged car were lapped by Truex, he positioned himself in front of Chastain’s car for nearly a lap and cost Chastain a bunch of time to Truex.
It was a move that could've ultimately helped Truex win the race had it gone green to the finish.
Willam Byron leads nearly half the laps, finishes fourth
Byron led 193 of the race’s 400 laps but ended up fourth after his car didn’t have the same speed in the second half of the race as it did in the beginning. Byron was passed for the lead by Chastain on lap 286 at the beginning of the third stage of the race and never led again, as Chastain and Truex became the cars to beat.
Truex had a fast car for much of the day but had to spend the middle part of the race regaining track position he lost because of a bad pit stop while Chastain led 98 laps. Truex’s 68 laps led all came after lap 330.
Just 12 cars finished on the lead lap. Polesitter Kyle Busch was three laps down after he sped on pit road early in the race and suffered front-end damage after hitting Ty Dillon as the field slowed behind Daniel Suarez's spinning car early in the race.
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Ross Chastain
3. Ryan Blaney
4. William Byron
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Christopher Bell
7. Tyler Reddick
8. Brad Keselowski
9. Chris Buescher
10. Josh Berry
11. Chase Elliott
12. Bubba Wallace
13. Ty Gibbs
14. Corey LaJoie
15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
16. Erik Jones
17. Ryan Preece
18. AJ Allmendinger
19. Kevin Harvick
20. Harrison Burton
21. Kyle Busch
22. Michael McDowell
23. Justin Haley
24. Aric Almirola
25. Todd Gilliland
26. Austin Cindric
27. Austin Dillon
28. JJ Yeley
29. BJ McLeod
30. Chase Briscoe
31. Joey Logano
32. Kyle Larson
33. Brennan Poole
34. Noah Grayson
35. Daniel Suarez
36. Ty Dillon