Martin Truex Jr. won Sunday’s caution-marred Coca Cola 600 – the Toyota driver’s third win of the season and his third career win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
NASCAR Cup Series fans probably didn’t peg Truex to win after his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota blew a right front tire early in the race and slammed the outside wall at Turn 4 hard, forcing him to pit for repairs.
But when racing got back underway on Lap 79, Truex immediately put the past behind him and began a valiant charge to the front of the pack. Starting 32nd on the restart, Truex was ninth by the time the stage ended by Lap 100. He stayed toward the front of the pack for the rest of the night, positioning him well for the inevitable late-race restart.
The final restart came on Lap 396 of 400, with David Ragan and Ryan Newman leading the field to green after Ragan elected to stay out on old tires and Ryan Newman’s crew brought him for a two-tire stop. They had no pace for Truex, though, who almost immediately cleared them with a four-wide pass on the inside. Truex and Logano then fought for the lead in the closing laps before Truex passed the No. 22 Ford down the back straight.
“That was just incredible — what a race!” Truex said after the memorial day race, which saw NASCAR pay tribute to U.S. veterans killed in combat. “This is for everybody who gave their life so we could be here doing this tonight.
“What a hell of a team — we never gave up on it,” he added. “I thought we were done. We blew a tire and hit the wall. We never gave up on it. Just kept fighting, just kept fighting. What a race there at the end. That was pretty wild.”
The top finishing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driver was Chase Elliott, who ran near the front most of the day before giving the bowtie brand a top-five finish ahead of Rick Stenhouse. Chris Buescher, Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson, and William Byron were sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth for Chevy, respectively.
Click here for full results from the 2019 Coca Cola 600 from Charlotte.