Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex JR. Narrowly Took His First Win At Watkins Glen While Championship rival Kyle Busch Had A Disaster Of A Weekend.
Truex Jr. qualified third on the grid behind Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson and had a decent Stage 1, finishing 5 seconds behind Busch to take second place.
After the competition caution at the end of the first stage, the order reshuffled and Truex Jr., along with Busch, was sent down to the back. While Busch had an issues in the pit lane, Truex took his #78 Toyota Camry all the way up the order and into second place, behind the #19 Joe Gibbs Toyota of rookie Daniel Suarez. An epic battle enfolded between the two on the dying laps of the second stage which resulted in Suarez’s first stage win of his career.
Truex Jr. restarted second at the start of the third and final stage of the race and in a matter of few laps, the two-time Xfinity Series Champion seized the lead from Clint Bowyer and didn’t give it back until the final stages of the race when he went into fuel saving mode. He was passed by Brad Keslowski of Team Penske, who made contact with a furious Kyle Busch heading into the bus-stop chicane in the third stage, and also by Wood Brothers Racing’s Ryan Blaney.
Truex Jr’s crew expected Keslowski and Blaney to take another pitstop for gas and they did so in the final few laps, handing the lead back to the #78 car who was running incredibly tight on fuel while blocking a charging Matt Kenseth. Eventually, Truex Jr. was able to keep Kenseth at bay and return to victory lane for the first time since Kentucky.
This win means that Truex Jr. extends his championship lead over Kyle Busch to 116 points in the Driver Standings and to 18 points over Jimmie Johnson in the Playoff Standings.
NASCAR returns this sunday at the michigan international speedway!