Truex ends long NASCAR drought


SONOMA, Calif. —Time did not fly by.

It wasn’t as long as the winless streak once broken by his car owner, but Martin Truex’s first Sprint Cup Series victory in nearly six years was plenty long for the driver.

Truex held off Jeff Gordon to win Sunday’s Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway to earn the second win of his career and first in 218 races — dating back to a victory at Dover, Del., in 2007.

Truex’s team owner, Michael Waltrip, ended a 462-race winless streak when he won the 2001 Daytona 500.

Carl Edwards finished third, Kurt Busch was fourth and Clint Bowyer was fifth. Series points leader Jimmie Johnson ended up ninth.

Before the race even started, it had its share of drama.

David Reutimann came to an abrupt stop while driving off pit road and Alex Kennedy then stopped quickly behind him. Paulie Harraka, making his Cup series debut, then slammed into Kennedy’s car.

Marcos Ambrose quickly took the lead on the start of the race from pole-winner Jamie McMurray.

Harraka had a right-front tire blow on Lap 6 which brought out the first caution. Most drivers elected to remain on the track and Ambrose stayed in the lead on the restart on Lap 9.

Kurt Busch powered to the lead on Lap 19 in Turn 4 and remained out front until rain brought out a caution on Lap 25. Gordon had planned to pit just before the caution but failed to beat the red light and was penalized for pitting too soon.

On the restart on Lap 31, Kurt Busch was out front followed by Ambrose and Clint Bowyer.

Kennedy wrecked on Lap 32 to bring out another full-course caution on Lap 32. During a round of pit stops both Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were caught speeding on pit road. Kurt Busch elected not to pit and remained the leader on the restart on Lap 33.

Brad Keselowski made his way around Busch to take the lead on Lap 34.

Kurt Busch made a scheduled pit stop on Lap 36 but was caught speeding on pit road and assessed a pass-thru penalty. While making the pass-thru, Busch again sped on pit road and was assessed a stop-and-go penalty and eventually fell a lap down.

Truex passed Keselowski on Lap 41 to take the lead for the first time.

At the halfway point, Truex continued to lead the way followed by Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne.

Danica Patrick spun on Lap 63 to bring out the fourth caution. On the restart McMurray led the way. Truex quickly made his way back around McMurray on the Lap 67 restart to retake the lead.

Tony Stewart hit Hamlin on Lap 68 in Turn 7 to bring out another caution. On the restart on Lap 71, Joey Logano led the way.