Truex Jr holds on for Watkins Glen NASCAR victory

Autosport

Martin Truex Jr took his fourth NASCAR Cup win of the year at Watkins Glen after successfully conserving his fuel to the end of the race.

Points leader Truex led much of the road course event after poleman and early leader Kyle Busch experienced delays.

The timing of the final caution, after 53 of the 90 laps, left many runners with a tight run to make their fuel last to the finish and Furniture Row Racing driver Truex had to reduce his pace by three seconds a lap or more.

Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney both passed Truex but had to pit in the late laps, letting Truex back into the lead, and he then only just held off Matt Kenseth to win.

It was a 2-3-4 for Joe Gibbs Racing as Daniel Suarez finished third ahead of Denny Hamlin, and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer was fifth.

Busch won the 20-lap first stage from Truex, but having pitted under the caution at the end of that stage Busch had to pit again on the next lap as his left front wheel was loose, due to a lug nut getting caught between calliper and wheel.

He then recovered to ninth by the start of stage two, but on the opening lap of the final stage, just before half distance, he tried to pass Keselowski at the ‘bus stop’ and the pair collided and spun, putting them to the back.

Busch pitted at the end of the lap, cutting him even further adrift. He recovered again but had to pit for more fuel with five laps to go, finishing seventh.

Keselowski made it back to the leading pack after pitting shortly before the final caution.

Yet while he had two spells in the lead it was clear that he would need an extra fuel stop before the end, and after stopping he then got a penalty for driving through more than three pit slots. He finished 15th.

Suarez took stage two aided by the strategic move of pitting near the end of stage one. He just held off fast recovering Truex.

Dale Earnhardt Jr’s frustrating final full-time NASCAR season continued, as he complained of losing engine power in the first stage, and the problem stopped him early in stage two.

Kevin Harvick collided with Brett Moffitt in the pit lane when most stopped under the final caution, and finished 17th.

Penske’s Joey Logano, who needs a race win to guarantee his slot in the championship playoff, lost 15 places with a slow stop at the end of stage one and came home 24th.

Truex Jr holds on for Watkins Glen NASCAR victory

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