Martin Truex, Jr. Wins at the Glen by Saving Fuel
WATKINS GLEN, NY – RIS – Like so many road course races, the I Love New York 355 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race involved fuel mileage, or rather fuel conservation. In the end, the driver who conserved the most fuel was Martin Truex, Jr. by .04 seconds.
“I hate gas mileage races,” Truex said during the race.
Truex’s conservation was a thing of beauty. On the back bumper of leader Brad Keselowski, Truex dropped back and slowed down then came roaring back to win the race and save enough fuel for a spectacular burnout.
Keselowski had a big lead but was forced to pit with three laps to go. That gave the lead to Ryan Blaney, who began to run dry and had to pit before taking the white flag. Trailing by three seconds after saving fuel for several laps, Truex assumed the lead in his No. 78 Toyota and, despite a bobble and locking the brakes as Kenseth challenged on the last lap, won for the fourth time this season.
Keselowski had further problems on his final pit stop, driving through too many pit entrances on his way out of the pits. He finished in 15th place.
Blaney who was up front all day, rallied back to finish 8th. He was looking forward to getting the Wood Brother’s 100th MENC win before leaving for Team Penske next year.
“I had to get fuel,” Blaney said. I stumbled down the back coming to two to go, so I wasn’t going to make it. Things just didn’t work out for us.”
Rookie Daniel Suarez was third, followed by Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer. Pole-sitter Kyle Busch was seventh.
Four races — Michigan, Bristol, Darlington and Richmond — remain before the playoffs start.
The win is Truex's first at The Glen. He has won at both road courses as he took the checkered flag at Sonoma in 2013. The No. 78 was on track to win at Sonoma earlier this season, leading the most laps before suffering a heartbreaking engine failure with just 24 laps to go.
Truex was ecstatic with the win. He grew up only 300 miles from WGI and considers it truly his home track.
“It means a lot to be in victory lane here, “Truex said. “I’ve been coming here a long time and felt we were always close. That other road race slipped away from us.”
The No. 78 already had a dominating playoff points lead heading into the race and has now added another five points, bringing his total to an impressive 34. Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson is more than double the points behind him with 16.
The win is Truex's first at The Glen. He has won at both road courses as he took the checkered flag at Sonoma in 2013. The No. 78 was on track to win at Sonoma earlier this season, leading the most laps before suffering an engine failure with just 24 laps to go.
Kyle Busch dominated Stage 1, leading every lap after starting on the pole. Busch had more than a four second lead over Truex Jr., who finished the stage second. The mid-race win was Busch's ninth of the season as he continues to get close to Truex Jr.'s series leading 14.
Chase Elliott also added eight valuable regular season points with a third-place finish in Stage 1. Elliott, who qualified fourth, is one of the drivers on the bubble and with win-parity abundant, the more points the No. 24 accrues, the safer his playoff spot will be.
Rookie Daniel Suarez led 10 laps and held off Truex in Stage 2 to earn his first career midrace win. Busch finished the stage ninth after being forced to pit twice due to lug nut and tire issues. Matt Kenseth, another driver with playoff aspirations, leveled with Elliott after finishing third as well in the second stage.
Busch got side-by-side with Keselowski early in the final stage, colliding and spinning toward the wall. Both drivers had to pit, sending them to the rear of the field. Keselowski and Busch were each able to climb back into contention thanks to a Landon Cassill debris caution shortly after the accident.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to take his car to the garage after a power issue in his final race at Watkins Glen. This was the second time this season that Junior saw his day end due to mechanical problems and the seventh time he failed to complete a race this season.
Kevin Harvick was looking to sweep the road races this season after winning at Sonoma in June, but saw those hopes come to an end when he collided with Brett Moffitt on pit road. The No. 4 Stewart Haas-Racing Ford team was forced to make multiple repairs to the body of the car, which inevitably sent them to the rear of the field.
The drama continues next Sunday as the teams head to the Irish Hills of Michigan and Michigan International Speedway.
Unofficial Race Results for the 32nd Annual I Love New York 355 At The Glen - Watkins Glen International
Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps, St1, St2, Pts, Playoff Pts, Tms, Laps, Status
1) 3, Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota, 90, 2, 2, 58, 5, 3, 24, Running
2) 15, Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota Care Toyota, 90, , 3, 43, , , , Running
3) 5, Daniel Suarez #, No. 19 STANLEY Toyota, 90, , 1, 44, 1, 1, 14, Running
4) 11, Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota, 90, , 6, 38, , , , Running
5) 12, Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Five Star Urgent Care Ford, 90, , , 32, , , , Running
6) 18, Kurt Busch, No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, 90, , 8, 34, , , , Running
7) 1, Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M's Caramel Toyota, 90, 1, 9, 42, 1, 1, 21, Running
8) 16, Ryan Blaney, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, 90, , 4, 36, , 2, 2, Running
9) 7, AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Kroger ClickList Chevrolet, 90, 8, 10, 32, , , , Running
10) 6, Erik Jones #, No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota, 90, , 5, 33, , , , Running
11) 17, Chris Buescher, No. 37 Scott Products Chevrolet, 90, , , 26, , , , Running
12) 14, Michael McDowell, No. 95 K-Love Radio Chevrolet, 90, , , 25, , , , Running
13) 4, Chase Elliott, No. 24 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet, 90, 3, , 32, , 1, 9, Running
14) 9, Jamie McMurray, No. 1 McDonald's Chevrolet, 90, 6, , 28, , , , Running
15) 8, Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, 90, 5, 7, 32, , 2, 20, Running
16) 19, Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Rated Red Road to Race Day Chevrolet, 90, 9, , 23, , , , Running
17) 20, Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Busch Beer Ford, 90, , , 20, , , , Running
18) 21, Paul Menard, No. 27 Dutch Boy/Menards Chevrolet, 90, , , 19, , , , Running
19) 24, Ty Dillon #, No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet, 90, , , 18, , , , Running
20) 22, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 NESN.com Ford, 90, 10, , 18, , , , Running
21) 29, Aric Almirola, No. 90, , , 16, Running, , ,
22) 25, Danica Patrick, No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford, 90, , , 15, , , , Running
23) 2, Kyle Larson, No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet, 90, 4, , 21, , , , Running
24) 13, Joey Logano, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, 90, 7, , 17, , , , Running
25) 23, Ryan Newman, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, 90, , , 12, , , , Running
26) 27, Austin Dillon, No. 3 Dow STEM Chevrolet, 90, , , 11, , , , Running
27) 31, David Ragan, No. 38 Overton's Ford, 90, , , 10, , , , Running
28) 37, Matt DiBenedetto, No. 32 Incredible Bank Ford, 90, , , 9, , , , Running
29) 10, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, 90, , , 8, , , , Running
30) 35, Boris Said, No. 33 Genesee Beer/Genesee Light Chevrolet, 89, , , 7, , , , Running
31) 34, Gary Klutt, No. 15 Color Compass Corporation Chevrolet, 89, , , 6, , , , Running
32) 33, * Brett Moffitt(i), No. 83 JAS Trucking Toyota, 89, , , 0, , , , Running
33) 36, Corey LaJoie #, No. 23 Dr Pepper Toyota, 89, , , 4, , , , Running
34) 26, Cole Whitt, No. 72 RTIC Coolers Chevrolet, 81, , , 3, , , , Running
35) 30, Trevor Bayne, No. 6 AdvoCare Ford, 80, , , 2, , , , Running
36) 32, Landon Cassill, No. 34 Jacob Companies Ford, 78, , , 1, , , , Running
37) 28, Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet, 22, , , 1, , , , Engine
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie, (*) non-charter team
Time of Race 02 Hrs, 07 Mins, 03 Secs.
Average Speed 104.132 MPH
Margin of Victory 0.414 Seconds
Race Comments Martin Truex Jr. won the I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at Watkins Glen International, his 11th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. Before the start of the event, the following car dropped to the rear of the field for the reasons indicated: Nos. 6, 32, 33, 27, 31, 15, 11, 14 (unapproved adjustments).
Caution Flags 3 for 8 laps: Laps: 22-24 (Stage 1 Conclusion ); 42-44 (Stage 2 Conclusion ); 53-54 (Debris on the backstretch from #34 ).
Lead Changes 9 among 6 drivers: Kyle Busch 1-21; C. Elliott 22-30; D. Suarez # 31-44; M. Truex Jr. 45-52; R. Blaney 53; B. Keselowski 54-63; M. Truex Jr. 64-76; B. Keselowski 77-86; R. Blaney 87; M. Truex Jr. 88-90.
American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Martin Truex Jr, #78
Coors Light Pole Award: Kyle Busch, #18 126.925 mph
Ingersoll Rand Power Move: Denny Hamlin, #11 5 positions
Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race: Toyota Racing Development (TRD), #18
Mobil 1 Driver of the Race: Matt Kenseth, #20
Moog Go the Extra Mile: Clint Bowyer, #14 M Bugarewicz, 0.369 sec
Sherwin-Williams Fastest Lap: Kyle Busch, #18
Sunoco Rookie of the Race: Daniel Suarez, #19
Ron Fleshman with John Davison
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.