Martin Truex Jr. celebrates in victory lane at Dover Motor Speedway. (David Moulthrop Photo)

Truex Jr. Ends 54-Race Winless Streak At Dover

DOVER, Del. — The last time Martin Truex Jr. scored a points-paying victory in the NASCAR Cup Series was September of 2021 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.

As 2022 came and went, many wondered when his next victory would come. That question was stomped during Monday’s Wurth 400, as the driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota got back to victory lane for the 32nd time in his career at Dover Motor Speedway. 

The win ended Truex’s 54-race winless streak.

“Just preserved. Just worked hard all day. James (Small, crew chief) and all of the guys did a really great job,” Truex said. “Stage two started — we were 21st or something like that restarting and had to work our way through the field and be patient. Our car came to life the second half of the race, and then once we got track position it was really good.

“Just fortunate to get the lead on that green-flag cycle. I don’t think I would have ever passed the 1 (Ross Chastain) car if it wasn’t for that. We were both really, really equal. Enjoy racing up there today. The track was fun. Our car was really good.”

Truex Jr. burns it down on the frontstretch at Dover. (David Moulthrop Photo)

The 42-year-old earned his fourth win at the Monster Mile, with it being his third Dover triumph on a Monday. 

“It feels great. After last year, such a disappointing year with not being able to win and all of the disappointing races where we felt like we had the best car, and it just wouldn’t come together,” Truex said. “Things just kept happening and happening. We just kept talking about it. We’re not doing anything wrong. We just had to tighten up a couple loose ends here and there and keep our heads down and keep working hard, and that’s what all of these guys have done.”

It was a great weekend for the Truex family, with Martin’s younger brother Ryan Truex scoring his first career win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series on Saturday. Ironically, both Ryan and Martin won aboard a JGR No. 19 Toyota. 

“Just really proud to be here today, and love this race track,” Truex said. “Love all of the fans up here. We have a lot of friends and family up this way. It is always so special to win at this place. With Ryan (Truex) winning on Saturday — his first win — aside for sitting around in the rain for way too long, this has been an awesome weekend.”

Chastain’s Ride To Second

Chastain was the talk of Monday’s 400-mile event for multiple reasons. Outside of leading 98 laps and finishing second, it was an incident earlier in the race that loomed large over the driver of the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet.

On lap 80, Chastain got into the back of Brennan Poole heading into turn one, sending the No. 15 Ford Mustang spinning into the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driven by Kyle Larson, who was attempting to avoid the wreck.

Poole wasn’t pleased with Chastain’s actions following the accident. 

“As soon as he ran into me, I just kind of got shoved into the corner, like way too deep, and then I was just immediately turned around,” Poole said. “So, I think it was the No.1? Go figure. I mean, just a joke… eighty-something laps into a race? No reason.”

The result for Larson was a torn up left front nose.  Larson eventually took his No. 5 Chevrolet to the garage area for repairs, before heading back out on the track to finish 32nd. 

The Wurth 400 finish with Truex Jr. (19) winning over Ross Chastain. (David Moulthrop Photo)

After the skirmish early, Chastain eventually found his way to the front in Stage Two, scoring the stage victory. 

From there, the 30-year-old battled it out with Truex, before a late-race caution involving Team Penske’s Joey Logano gave the No. 1 team a difficult decision to make. 

While Chastain took four tires on the final stop, Truex, Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney and JGR’s Christopher Bell elected for two Goodyear tires. Chastain surged past Blaney and Bell with five laps to go, but he finished .505 seconds behind Truex. 

“I think whoever got in the lead was going to have a shot at it,” Chastain said after the race. “I first have to say I’m sorry to Brennan (Poole) and everybody at Rick Ware’s team. I owe a big apology and a bit more. When I get home from Skip Barber tomorrow, I’ll head over there and talk to those guys and make some of that right.

“Gosh, so close, again, for our Jockey Chevy, everybody at Trackhouse, Advent Health, Moose Fraternity, Worldwide Express. It’s surreal to continue to do that and race against my heroes. I guess I told them a few too many of my secrets last year after we went fishing.”

Stage One

The race’s first caution flag came shortly after the restart on lap 27 when Noah Gragson went around on the backstretch. The driver of the No. 42 slapped the backstretch wall, sustaining toe link damage. His day promptly ended in 34th position. 

Right after the green flag waved , a multi-car wreck came on lap 34 when Daniel Suarez got loose out of turn four, slamming the inside wall on the frontstretch. Ty Dillon and B.J. McLeod were also involved. Suarez and Dillon’s days ended early.

Green-flag racing resumed with William Byron controlling the pace. 

Byron surged to the Stage One win over Denny Hamlin.

Stage Two 

On the ensuing restart to begin Stage Two, Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet checked out on the field. 

With green flag pit stops beginning, Chastain hounded Byron for the lead until lap 193 when Byron hit pit road. 

Chastain maintained the lead after the pit-stop cycle to hold firm over Byron and Blaney at the end of Stage Two. Kevin Harvick would encounter a tire issue as the stage ended, putting the driver of the No. 4 a lap down. 

Stage Three

The stage caution vaulted Byron back to the front after a strong pit stop.

On lap 285, Chastain would use the outside lane to retake the lead over Byron with Truex Jr. slipping by the No. 24 as well. 

During green-flag pit stops, Truex’s crew gave the driver of the No. 19 the advantage over Chastain to take over the lead with 68 laps to go. 

Chastain, however, would close to the rear bumper of Truex, making it a two-car battle for the lead. 

A caution with 14 laps to go stacked the field back up when Team Penske’s Joey Logano went sliding into the outside wall in turn two. 

The final pit stops of the day saw Truex, Blaney and Bell decide to take two tires, while Chastain was the first off pit road with four tires in fourth. 

Blaney gave a valiant effort on the final restart, though Truex survived the closing laps to win.

Chastain finished second, with Blaney, Byron and Denny Hamlin rounding out the top five.

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