NASCAR: Truex holds off Busch to win at Sonoma

Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas dominated the NASCAR Cup weekend at Sonoma, with Martin Truex completing the whitewash by holding off Kyle Busch to win the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

Truex’s teammate Denny Hamlin started on the pole in the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

The Fords of Joey Logano and Chris Buescher were 3rd and 4th while Chase Elliott rounded out the top-5 in his Hendrick Chevy.

Overcoming an inopportune caution and leading a race-high 51 of 110 laps, Truex scored his second victory of the season and his fourth at the 1.99-mile road course, most among active drivers and second only to Jeff Gordon’s five in track history.

“Hats off to my team,” said Truex, who was winless in the 2022 campaign. “To be so bad here last year and to come back and do that with the same car basically, it’s really unbelievable. Just proud of them. We’re having a great year. I feel really good about our team …

“Man, it just feels incredible to have a day like that and a run like that and a team like I have. They’re doing everything right, and it’s a lot of fun to drive these cars … This is why you go through years like we had last year. You just keep fighting. You never give up on it. You always believe in each other.

Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 11, 2023 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

“We haven’t changed anything on our team other than parts and pieces. It’s just through a lot of hard work of a lot of people.”

On Lap 33, Truex passed Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and pole winner Denny Hamlin for the top spot, after Hamlin led the first 32 laps and won the race’s first stage. For the next 18 laps, it appeared that Truex and Hamlin would deliver a 1-2 punch to the rest of the field.

Busch chased Truex over the final 14 laps – to no avail.

“I wish we had a little bit more,” said Busch, who won last Sunday at World Wide Technology Raceway. “I tried really hard at the end to at least try to keep Martin honest. Felt like I could beat him a little bit on a lap, then I would mess up. He would beat me by a little bit more on the next lap. We were just kind of trading a little bit there. He was able to pull away there late …

“We gave it everything that we had. We made a lot of changes. We got a lucky break there with a yellow with only three laps on tires, so we were able to kind of cycle to the front. Once we got up there, we could maintain pace with some of the good cars and have a good top-three-speed race car. Just kind of flip-flopped the race a little bit.

“Good fortunes for us. Nice to come out here with a P2 after a win last week.”

Joey Logano finished third, followed by Chris Buescher and Elliott. AJ Allmendinger, Michael McDowell, Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell and Ross Chastain completed the top 10.

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 1st

What made you so strong today?

“I felt like our Bass Pro Shops Camry TRD was really close yesterday in practice, if we could make a few adjustments, I thought we would be good. They definitely made the right adjustments. This place is all about rear traction, rear drive and being able to manage that and keep turning and keep momentum. We were able to do that today. The car was really, really good. Just a total team effort. Everybody works really, really hard. We were awful here last year, and at road course in general, so to come back here – this has kind of been a playground for us before, and to be able to get back here with this car and do it again feels really, really special. It’s really gratifying. We’ve worked hard for this one.”

Is working through the traffic when you have that good of a car nerve-wracking?

“Yeah, it is a little nerve-wracking. You get a restart, we restarted 10th in the middle the race after leading – just strategy got kind of jumbled up – with that weird caution the way it fell. You are always nervous that you are going to get banged up or get off course. This track is narrow and it is hard to pass. When you are racing around guys with older tires, it is easy for them to make a mistake and slide into us, but everybody raced clean, raced hard, and we were able to pull it out.”

SONOMA, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 11: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 11, 2023 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Race Results




19 4 51
8 1 17
9 2 7
34 1 1
1 1 1
11 2 34




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