While Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch ran out of fuel or made late pit stops, Martin Truex Jr. saved just enough gas to win Sunday’s I Love New York 355 at Watkins Glen International.
Truex had saved fuel for the final 20 laps and had just enough to hold off Matt Kenseth‘s charge on the final lap to earn his fourth win of the season.
It was Truex’s 11th career Cup win and his first at The Glen.
“I’m a little bit lost for words, I’ve been thinking about this one a long time, all weekend, all day,” Truex told NBCSN. “Man, it’s so hard to let guys pass you for the lead, you just have to listen to your crew chief (Cole Pearn), and luckily for me, I have the best one in the business.”
Kenseth finished second, followed by Daniel Suarez, Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer.
“Overall it was a good day, good finish, but hate to be that close and not get it,” Kenseth told NBCSN.
Sixth through 10th were Kurt Busch, pole sitter Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, A.J. Allmendinger and Erik Jones. All four Joe Gibbs Racing cars made finished in the top 10.
Several incidents of note occurred early in the final stage, including:
- On Lap 45, pole-sitter Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski spun in the bus stop but continued.
- On Lap 53, Kevin Harvick suffered significant left front damage after contact with Brett Moffitt. Harvick was leaving his pit stall and slammed into the right rear of Moffitt’s car.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s day ended after 22 laps due to a broken valve train. Earnhardt finished last in the 37-car field in the final Cup race of his career on a roadcourse.
It was an emotional win for the entire team. Not only was Truex’s girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, on hand to watch him win, crew chief Cole Pearn dedicated the win to one of his best friends who passed away earlier this week.
STAGE WINNERS: Kyle Busch won Stage 1 (his ninth of the season). Daniel Suarez captured Stage 2, his first stage win of 2017
WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Matt Kenseth came close to earning his first win of the season. … Daniel Suarez led 14 laps and finished a career-best third place. … Clint Bowyer appeared in contention, but settled a fifth-place finish, his fifth top-10 finish in the last seven races.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. had his ninth finish of 30th or worse this season (40.9 percent). … Kevin Harvick had a decent day going until he slammed into Brett Moffitt on pit road. Harvick finished 17th.
NOTABLE: Sunday was Boris Said’s final race of his long and successful racing career. He finished 30th.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “This is a dream come true. I used to walk around the garage here as a kid, dreaming of racing here. We’ve been coming here a long time, us Truex’s, and we finally got us one (a win).”
WHAT’S NEXT: Pure 400 at Michigan International Speedway, Sunday, August 13, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.