Martin Truex Jr. endures, wins NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600

Ruben Hill
May 29, 2019

Martin Truex Jr. won the caution-filled Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday night, beating Joey Logano and Kyle Busch in NASCAR's longest race.

GIBBS' TIRE PROBLEMS: It wasn't a completely flawless week for Joe Gibbs Racing. But crew chief Cole Pearn radioed his driver that things were not that bad and to stay calm and remain focused. "We had to free the auto up a ton to kind of get the balance back".

"This is just a special race", Truex said. Truex said after putting on a celebratory smoke show on the frontstretch.

"I thought we were done when we blew a tire and hit the wall", Truex said in his on-track interview after climbing out of his vehicle.

Earlier in the day, pole sitter Simon Pagenaud passed Alexander Rossi on the next to last lap and held on to give team owner Roger Penske his 18th victory in the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500.

"This is the wildest race we've ever won", Pearn said. "We had a couple runs there where we had to sit with our butt cheeks clenched together, hoping it (tire) wasn't going to blow again".

But Verstappen had earlier picked up a five-second time penalty. Still, in victory lane, Pearn couldn't believe his team came out on top.

"That was incredible, what a race", said Truex, who overcame an early collision. "I'm just kind of amazed and kind of speechless".

Truex led early in the race, but he spun from the lead and scraped the wall on lap 74 as a result of a flat right-front tire. Truex was the first off pit road with four new tires.

"I knew that whoever got out front first with four tires was probably going to win with a four-lap shootout", Truex said. "You don't have enough time to get around somebody". I knew the only way I was going to pass him was on the outside; I don't think I was going to be able to clear him if I went down to the bottom, and I was pretty sure I was going to lose a spot. "Second stings. I thought we had a good shot when that caution came back out, gave me another chance; just didn't quite get it". We just kept fighting and fighting. That's what just killed a little bit of momentum to where Martin had just enough momentum to clear me off that corner. "That was another time when I got pushed out front when there are so many people behind me". I mean, by like a quarter of an inch. "Literally, as soon as I got nearly straight he was on my bumper and I was sideways". The three-time Super Bowl champion coach was voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Wednesday, along with two of his race team's championship drivers in Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart. It wasn't until the cars reached Turn 1 on Lap 397 that Truex pulled away. He restarted second behind Elliott.

Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson, pole victor William Byron and Kevin Harvick completed the top 10 in an action-filled race that featured 30 lead changes among 11 drivers.

In the second 100-lap stage, another Joe Gibbs Racing driver, Denny Hamlin, and both JTG-Daugherty Racing drivers, Ryan Preece and Chris Buescher, suffer the same fate. After repairs, Truex restarted 32nd on Lap 79, but by the end of Stage 1 on lap 100, he had rallied to finish ninth and remained in the mix the rest of the night.

Logano and Truex burst through the traffic when the race restarted with five laps to go, Truex from third and Logano from sixth after being the first two drivers down pit road under the caution.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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