Martin Truex Jr. Snaps 29-Race Winless Streak At Phoenix Racewayby Hunter Thomas March 14, 2021 0 comments
AVONDALE, Ariz. – In five races so far this season, the NASCAR Cup Series has seen five different winners. Martin Truex Jr. snapped a 29-race winless streak on Sunday as he made his way around Logano on the outside with just 25 laps remaining at Phoenix Raceway.
The last time Truex celebrated in Victory Lane was at Martinsville Speedway in June of last year. On Sunday in the Instacart 500, Truex started the race in fifth and led 64 laps. He even bounced off the wall in Turn 2 early in the 312-lap race.
“About lap 67, I hit the fence off of turn two,” Truex said. “Our car was super tight to start off the race. It wasn’t any good at all. I can’t believe I’m standing here right now. What an effort by my guys on the team. It’s just unreal. To hit the fence, to go to the back, to fix it, to make some huge adjustments and for us to be able to run as good as we did at the end there, I’m speechless. This has been a tough track for us.”
With his 28th-career series victory, the driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota joins Carl Edwards and Rex White in 28th on the NASCAR Cup Series all-time wins list.
Joey Logano looked as if he was the driver to beat in the closing laps. He was en route to winning the race until a late-race caution came out on lap 283 after Kyle Busch was sent spinning down the frontstretch following contact with Ross Chastain. Logano led a race high of 143 laps, but in the end, he had to settle for a second-place finish.
“I was surprised he was able to hang with me on that start,” Logano said about Truex’s performance on the final restart of the day. “I felt like he had a good start too, but I had a good one on the bottom and I thought the amount I short-cutted it in the dogleg I thought, ‘Boy, I’m gonna have him cleared,’ and then we went in the corner it was still door-to-door and when you’re door-to-door the outside car has control of you. I’m pretty sure even if I beat him on that start he was still gonna hound me and probably get by me. They had the best car. They tuned it in. We had a good car, for sure, but once they tuned it in toward the end of the second stage that was the best car on the racetrack.”
Truex’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin finished in the third position. Brad Keselowski finished fourth and Phoenix’s fall winner, Chase Elliott completed the top-five. Kevin Harvick finished sixth. Kyle Larson overcame two pit road speeding penalties to finish seventh. William Byron, Christopher Bell and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-10.
The Instacart 500 saw 22 lead changes and seven cautions for 45 laps.
Alex Bowman was sent into the outside wall in Turn 2 on lap 47 after being caught in the middle of an accordion crash, involving Chastain and Austin Dillon. Despite the crash, Bowman finished the race in 13th.
“Ended up 13th, but had a crashed car for 300 laps,” Bowman said. “Definitely solid, all things considered with the whole left side wiped out. We had to overcome damage. We had a fast car, but the left side damage didn’t help the pit crew on stops.”
Anthony Alfredo was sent hard into the outside wall in Turn 2 on lap 90 after significant contact from Cody Ware who also pounded the wall. The NASCAR Cup Series will visit Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 21 for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Live coverage will broadcast on FOX and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 3 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images
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