Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. had led the most laps in the last three races as he headed into the Axalta ‘We Paint Winners’ 400 at Pocono, but he had yet to score a victory in 2015. After leading the most laps in his No. 78 Chevrolet once again, Truex Jr. drove to a well-earned win at the “Tricky Triangle” Sunday afternoon, giving him his first win since 2013.
Truex led a race-high 97 of 400 laps after also having led the most laps at Kansas, Charlotte and Dover in weeks prior. However this time he and Denver, CO-based Furniture Row Racing were able to hold onto the lead through to the end of the race, a result which had Truex’s fellow competitors coming by to congratulate him. The other drivers also tweeted out their congratulatory messages to Truex and girlfriend Sherry Pollex, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.
The win is an emotional one for Truex and Pollex, and not just because Truex had gone 69 starts without a win. Pollex was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer and as a result underwent surgery last August. Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser told Truex he could sit 2014 out and return for 2015 if he wanted, but the New Kersey native kept competing, saying it helped take his mind off Pollex’s situation.
“It never gets any better than this,” Truex said post-race. “It takes time to heal things, especially with what Sherry and I went through. This makes you forget all about it. Sherry’s here healthy and she’s as excited as I am.”
Followng behind Truex was curren Sprint Cup Series points leader Kevin Harvick, his eighth top two finish in 14 races so far this year. Jimmie Johnson was third, while Joey Logano and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five. Johnson earned his seventh top-three result in the race, but it didn’t come easy, with the Hendrick driver having to fight his way back up front after suffering a flat earlier in the race.
Truex’s win ended a streak of wins from Hendrick Motorsports drivers at Pocono. Dale Earnhardt Jr. wound up 11th, while Jeff Gordon was 14th and Kasey Kahne was 13th. Danica Patrick was running 11th and having a solid day when she clipped the wall. The impact punctured her tire, which later caused her to spin and go sliding into the wall backwards. She would end up 37th 10 laps down from the lead pace.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head north for the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. Harvick currently leads the series, while Truex moves into second with his win, a place ahead of Johnson.