08-10-2017 Tri-City Area Sports

Truex wins on true fuel-saving strategy

Martin Truex Jr. notched his fourth victory of the season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series by conserving gas, even though it meant a white-knuckle race to the finish as drivers passed him by.

The final 13 laps of Sunday’s I Love New York 355 at Watkins Glen International were by far the most exciting, as Truex Jr. held the lead and let it go in an effort to avoid hitting Pit Row one final time to top off his tank.

The strategy worked, and Truex Jr. matched his career-high number of wins in a single season. In addition to claiming his fourth trophy this season, he earned his 11th career victory. He led 24 of the road course race’s 90 laps.

Truex Jr. has certainly come in to his own over the last two years.  The Furniture Row driver joined the NASCAR circuit in 2004 but only participated in two races. In 2005, he ran seven before becoming a full-time driver in 2006.

Over the course of his 14 years in the Cup Series, Truex Jr. did not earn victories in nine of those years. His first victory came in 2007.

Following his first win, Truex Jr. endured a winless streak that lasted until 2013 when he tallied another trophy.

One win in 2015 led to four in 2016 and four – so far – in 2017. Like fine wine, Truex Jr. gets better with age.

Although he closed in on Truex Jr. on the final lap of the race, Matt Kenseth couldn’t overtake his competitor and finished second.

Daniel Suarez took third, which marked his highest finish of the season. He led 14 laps on Sunday and 26 total this year. Suarez has eight top 10 finishes this season.

Crossing the finish line in fourth place was Denny Hamlin.

Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five.

For those of you watching Dale Earnhardt’s final season on the circuit, he made an early day of it Sunday.  He suffered engine trouble almost out of the gate and ended the day in 37th place after leaving the track on the 22nd lap.

Drivers who led laps but did not finish in the top five included: Kyle Busch (21), Ryan Blaney (2), Chase Elliott (9), and Brad Keselowski (20).

It’s the Mitten State’s turn in the NASCAR spotlight. Teams are safely ensconced at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn for Sunday’s running of the Pure Michigan 400.

Kyle Larson has won the last two races at MIS, in June of this year and August of last year.  He finished 23rd at Watkins Glen, so expect him to be hard-charging this week.

Of the past eight races, the pole sitter has claimed victory five times. It’ll be interesting to see who qualifies first!

Glad-Peach Run/Bike/Walk

Results are in from the Coloma Glad-Peach run, bike, and walk event held Saturday, August 5.