Martin Truex Jr. rolls to Darlington victory

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Martin Truex Jr. repelled a late push from Kyle Larson to score his third NASCAR Cup Series win of the season Sunday at Darlington Raceway.

Truex was able to finish off a dominant afternoon where he swept both stages and led 248 of 293 laps. It was his second career victory at “The Track Too Tough to Tame.”

He dedicated the win to the former Furniture Row Racing team, where he won the 2017 Cup championship. On NASCAR Throwback Weekend, where many drivers competed with retro paint schemes on their cars, Truex’s No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota sported matte black in a nod to FRR’s cars during his title run.

MORE: Race results, driver points 

“We just had good balance,” Truex told FS1. “The car was doing what I wanted it to do. I just had to manage those long runs.

“It was really loose that last run and I was nervous with (Larson) catching us and we got mired in some traffic there. That’s always tough.”

Larson gained on Truex following green flag stops with just under 40 laps to go and closed on him during the final run, but ultimately settled for second.

“I was surprised that I was able to get to him,” Larson told FS1. “I closed on pit road (during green flag stops) and then I caught him pretty quick once we were on track.

“I was riding, and I actually had an opportunity to get by him in the middle of (Turn) 1 and 2, but I thought I’d stay patient and maybe get him to use his stuff up. But he was a little bit better than I was on the long run.

“Just wish I maybe could’ve taken advantage of that opportunity, but thought it was gonna play out a little differently.”

Kyle Busch, last week’s winner at Kansas Speedway, followed up with a third-place finish. Busch recovered from an early spin at Lap 23 due to a left-rear tire failure.

William Byron and regular season points leader Denny Hamlin completed the top-five finishers.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.

STAGE 2 WINNER: Martin Truex Jr.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: William Byron’s fourth-place finish is his 10th consecutive top 10 dating back to his February win at Homestead-Miami Speedway … Both Roush Fenway Racing drivers rounded out the top 10 finishers – Chris Buescher in ninth and Ryan Newman in tenth.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: After having to start from the rear, Aric Almirola‘s day ended on Lap 6 with a crash into the inside wall off Turn 2 following contact from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. … Almirola’s teammate at Stewart-Haas Racing, Cole Custer, also wrecked off Turn 2 on Lap 99. Contact between Quin Houff and Anthony Alfredo sent the latter sideways and into Custer, who then went into the inside wall.

NOTABLE: Prior to Sunday, no stage winner at Darlington had gone on to win the race.

NEXT RACE: Sunday, May 16 – Dover International Speedway (2 p.m. ET, FS1)