NSCS: Finally; Martin Truex Jr. Comes Through with Victory at Pocono

Kyle Magda Featured, NASCAR, Northeast 0 Comments

LONG POND, Pa. — Photo and Recap by Race Chaser Online Associate Editor Kyle Magda —

Martin Truex Jr. led the most laps in the last three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.

Sitting second in points, the No. 78 team had yet to win a race in 2015, but everything went their way in Sunday’s Axalta, “We Paint Winners” 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Truex took the lead for the final time with 26 laps to go and never looked back to snap a 69-race winless streak for the Furniture Row Racing driver.

“I wanted to win for this team because I knew how good they are, how much they deserved it, the job they’ve been doing, and I’ve just honestly been so proud of their outlook on the way this year has gone,” Truex said. “It would be easy the last three weeks to get down and to hang your head and to make excuses and honestly just be disappointed, but they weren’t.”

“They knew we were going to get this win, and they knew we were going to get it soon, and they worked hard. They didn’t lose focus of how we got to where we’re at, and honestly, that’s what pushed us over the edge and was able to make the difference today.

Pocono and Dover International Speedway are the two closest tracks for Truex, who hails from Mayetta, N.J. He scored his first Cup career series win in June 2007 at the Monster Mile and also has two Busch Series (now XFINITY Series) wins there as well. Pocono Raceway is only a half-hour from the New Jersey border and Truex’s home state.

“It’s a cool area for me,” Truex said of Pocono. “A lot of friends and family come. It’s a two-and-a-half hour driver from where I grew up, and it’s just cool to — winning at Dover was special,and this is right along the same lines. You could kind of consider this another home track for me because it is so close.”

“Really cool feeling, and glad we were able to get it today.”

Leading up to Sunday’s race, Kevin Harvick won everything during the weekend except the final round of Coors Light pole qualifying. Harvick started to run down Truex at the end and appeared to have the faster car. He ran out of laps and settled for a runner-up finish for the second straight week.

“It was really no battle,” Harvick said. “He got out there too far on the restarts. We were really struggling on with third gear on the restarts and kind of had to go into defense mode just to kind of protect our track position. So that really put us n a box, and then the caution coming out the lap that we were pitting, you know, we just got behind him, and hopefully that turns full circle as we get towards the end of the year.”

Dover winner Jimmie Johnson had a quiet day in third place after cutting a tire down on lap 87 and worked his way back to the top-five in the latter stages of the race. Like Johnson, Joey Logano overcame adversity by starting in the rear due to a gear change and a speeding penalty to score a fourth-place finish. Both drivers’ day nearly came to an end when Logano brushed the wall out of Turn 3 and nearly collecting Johnson in the process. Amidst the trouble, Logano brought home the car in one piece.

“We didn’t have a very fast Shell/Pennzoil Ford from the get-go when we unloaded here, but we kept fighting hard,” Logano said. “We were maybe a litter better than the 48, but nothing for the 4 and the 78. Those guys have been rocket ships each and every week and we’ve got to figure out a way to catch up to them.”

There is no change in the top-four in points, as those drivers finished 1-2-3-4 in  Sunday’s race, in no particular order. Pole-sitter Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five and never led a lap during the event when Carl Edwards snatched the lead from him on the opening lap. Edwards led the first 14 laps, but it was the only noise he made all day before losing the lead to Truex and coming home in the 15th position. The highest finishing car for Joe Gibbs Racing was Matt Kenseth in sixth.

Penn State faculty, staff and alumni had a reason to smile Sunday when Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Axalta/Penn State car took to the track at Pocono Raceway. Gordon started 4th and remained in the top-five until getting caught up in the outside lane after a restart. He never re-gained track position and finished 14th, one spot in front of Edwards.

Ty Dillon finished 18th in the Yuengling colors for his first Pocono Cup race and also one spot ahead of brother Austin, who was 19th and led five laps after staying out during a lap 88 caution.

The save of the day came when Danica Patrick looped around her No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet and went straight on pit road within the final 10 laps and didn’t bring out a caution.

Saturday’s Pocono ARCA 200 winner Trevor Bayne grabbed a lead-lap finish in 24th. 28 cars finished on the lead lap

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to the Irish Hills of Michigan for Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Jimmie Johnson is the defending winner of the race.

RESULTS: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; Axalta, “We Paint Winners” 400; Pocono Raceway; June 7, 2015

1. Martin Truex Jr.

2. Kevin Harvick

3. Jimmie Johnson

4. Joey Logano

5. Kurt Busch

6. Matt Kenseth

7. Jamie McMurray

8. Kyle Larson

9. Kyle Busch

10. Denny Hamlin

11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

12. Greg Biffle

13. Kasey Kahne

14. Jeff Gordon

15. Carl Edwards

16. Casey Mears

17. Brad Keselowski

18. Ty Dillon

19. Austin Dillon

20. Justin Allgaier

21. Tony Stewart

22. Clint Bowyer

23. David Ragan

24. Trevor Bayne

25. Landon Cassill

26. Alex Bowman

27. David Gilliland

28. Cole Whitt

29. Josh Wise

30. Brett Moffitt

31. Paul Menard

32. Matt DiBenedetto

33. Jeb Burton

34. Michael Annett

35. Travis Kvapil

36. J.J. Yeley

37. Danica Patrick

38. A.J. Allmendinger

39. Ryan Newman

40. Brendan Gaughan

41. Sam Hornish Jr.

42. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

43. Aric Almirola

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