Truex Jr. wins I LOVE NEW YORK 355
WATKINS GLEN--Planning for the future can be a difficult thing. Especially when the plan involves giving your competition first place while you save for a strong finish. Driver Martin Truex Jr. and Crew Chief Cole Pearn executed that risky strategy, Sunday, Aug. 6, at Watkins Glen International to win the I LOVE NEW YORK 355 Cup race.
"...At the end there, it's just so hard there to let guys pass you for the lead," said Truex Jr. after winning. "You've just got to listen to your crew chief and, luckily for me, I've got the best one in the business, and I just believe in him so much, and I just do what he says and it seems to work out."
Truex allowed both Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney to pass him as he held back to conserve fuel in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota. The strategy paid off, as both Keselowski and Blaney were forced to pit lane for fuel very late in the race.
Truex did not have an easy final lap though, as Matt Kenseth and the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Camry challenged him for the lead right up to the checkered flag. Truex won by a margin of .414 seconds.
"I never ran 100 percent because I didn't have to," commented Truex Jr. about running conservatively before the final lap. "I ran 20 laps nowhere near maximum grip of my tires, so I didn't really know what I had, and actually went in to turn 10 on the last lap and locked the left front up thinking I was not going very fast."
The top five drivers at The Glen on Sunday were Truex, Kenseth, Daniel Suarez, Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer. With the victory, Truex is now up to four wins on the season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He leads Kyle Busch by 116 points in the driver standings. Busch had the pole for Sunday's I LOVE NEW YORK 355, but had to make an unanticipated pit stop to fix a loose wheel. This combined with a collision that sent him off the track led to a seventh place result.
While Sunday's finish was not what Busch was looking for, Saturday's XFINITY race was captured by the veteran driver. The win marked Busch's 90th victory in 336 NASCAR XFINITY series races.
"The cars have really been working for me here and it just feels so good to finally win an XFINITY race here," said Busch. "We've been so close so many times. One of my favorite runs here was in a Zippo car (in 2008) and being in the Zippo race today that's kind of ironic--I guess they sponsor it every year--but being with (owner) Eddie D'Hondt and the Zippo car, I remember we were really, really fast and wish we would've got that one."
Joey Logano, who finished second Saturday, posted his seventh top-10 finish in 10 races at WGI. Rounding out the top three was Keselowski.
Friday's K&N Pro Series East Finger Lakes Wine Country 100 was won by Will Rodgers.
Watkins Glen International, recently voted "Best NASCAR Track" for a second time by readers of USA Today, announced reserved grandstand tickets for the Sunday Cup race sold out for the third consecutive year.