|Martin Truex Jr.|
For Martin Truex Jr., a welcome oasis called Sonoma Raceway at long last ended one of the longest droughts in NASCAR racing.
With a convincing victory in Sunday’s Toyota Save Mart 350, Truex ended a winless streak of 218 races dating to June 4, 2007 at Dover, where he finished 7.355 seconds ahead of runner-up Ryan Newman.
On Sunday at Sonoma, Truex beat second-place Jeff Gordon by an even bigger margin — 8.133 seconds — as Juan Pablo Montoya dropped from the second position after running out of fuel on the next-to-last lap.
Truex set a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series record for the largest number of races between a driver’s first and second victories.
Carl Edwards ran third, followed by Kurt Busch, who rallied from consecutive pit road speeding penalties to score his fourth top five of the season. Clint Bowyer, last year’s winner, came home fifth, followed Kasey Kahne and Marcos Ambrose.
Greg Biffle, series leader Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick completed the top 10. Montoya, who was running second with two laps left, fell to 34th at the finish after running out of fuel.
Varying pit strategies scrambled the field after the cars of Kyle Busch and Edwards tangled on Lap 82 to cause the seventh caution of the race. Led by Truex, the top 15 cars stayed on the track, all close on fuel to finish the race.
Johnson restarted 16th on two new tires, while Joey Logano, Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. led a group that changed four tires under the yellow. The new tires made a difference, as Gordon, Kurt Busch and Bowyer all charged into the top five.
But staying out was a winning move for Truex, who built a five-second lead with 10 laps left and cruised to the drought-ending victory.
|1||Martin Truex Jr||56||Toyota||14||110||Running|
|12||Dale Earnhardt Jr||88||Chevrolet||26||110||Running|
|27||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||17||Ford||37||110||Running|
|34||Juan Pablo Montoya||42||Chevrolet||13||110||Running|
|37||Victor Gonzalez Jr||36||Chevrolet||42||109||Running|