NASCAR

Sonoma NASCAR: Truex fends off JGR Toyota team-mate Busch to win

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr clinched his fourth NASCAR Cup Series victory of the 2019 season, resisting late pressure from team-mate Kyle Busch at Sonoma.

Busch made his final pitstop three laps later than Truex Jr, and carried a tyre advantage into the final 23 laps of the 90-lap race.

Emerging eight seconds adrift of his race leading team-mate, Busch rapidly closed the gap initially, although after drawing to within two seconds of Truex Jr with 12 laps remaining, the margin then stabilised.

Truex maintained that cushion over the remaining laps and crossed the line with a 1.8-second advantage, to match both Busch’s tally of 2019 victories and his Cup career total of four road-course wins.

Both drivers started stage three towards the front of the field – with Truex leading the pack and Busch in fourth – utilising a pit strategy in which they sacrificed points by pitting prior to the end of both stages.

In order to climb up to second place, Busch had to clear both Ryan Blaney’s Penske Ford as well as Chase Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports’ Chevrolet.

His move on Blaney left battle scars, as Busch hit the back of the #12 car in a bump-and-run move. He apologised to Blaney’s team on the radio but continued to march forward – his pace not diminished by his crushed nose.

Blaney was another driver who opted to pit prior to the end of the stages and finished third for Penske, albeit half a minute behind the top two.

Leavine Family Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto’s previous best finish this season was 12th at Bristol, but he stormed to a career-best fourth place.

DiBenedetto started the final stage in fifth but lost ground leading up to the final stops. Emerging in ninth place, the #95 Toyota driver started to surge back through the pack.

His charge to fourth was completed when he dived to the inside of Kevin Harvick at the Turn 11 hairpin.

Harvick had struggled to find a set-up through the weekend, and ran with team-mate Clint Bowyer’s settings during the race.

He had been on the periphery of the top 10 throughout the day until an early final pitstop propelled him to fourth, before he slipped back to sixth.

Harvick was demoted in the closing stages by JGR’s Denny Hamlin, who ended up fifth.

Hamlin finished highest of the drivers who did not pit prior to the end of the stages. He finished second in stage one before claiming victory in stage two, but started the final segment in 23rd place.

Ryan Newman and Erik Jones finished seventh and eighth – Jones recovering from being sent to the rear of the field at the start for unapproved changes after qualifying.

Stage one winner William Byron failed to make the progress of Hamlin in the final segment, despite running the same strategy. He finished 19th.

Result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps
1 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 90
2 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 90
3 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 90
4 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota 90
5 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 90
6 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 90
7 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 90
8 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 90
9 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 90
10 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 90
11 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 90
12 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 90
13 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 90
14 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 90
15 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 90
16 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 90
17 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 90
18 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 90
19 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 90
20 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 90
21 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 90
22 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 90
23 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 90
24 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 90
25 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 89
26 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 89
27 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 89
28 Matt Tifft Front Row Motorsports Ford 89
29 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 89
30 Parker Kligerman Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota 89
31 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 89
32 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 89
33 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 89
34 J.J. Haley Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 88
35 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 88
36 Cody Ware Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 64
37 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 60
38 J.J. Yeley Petty Ware Racing Chevrolet 53

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