Overcoming an early brush with the outside wall, Martin Truex Jr. survived a late race restart to win the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. Truex made a four-wide pass to the inside with four laps remaining and held on to edge Joey Logano for the win.
The win was anything but routine for Truex, who blew a tire early in the race and slammed into the wall hard enough to cause a caution. He restarted 32nd on Lap 79, but by the end of the first stage, he had rallied to ninth and managed to stay in the hunt for the rest of the evening.
With a final restart with just five laps remaining, Truex passed David Ragan, who had stayed out on old tires, Ryan Newman, who changed just two tires, and then Logano down the backstretch in a move to win the race.
“What a team – we never gave up,” said Truex. “I thought we were done. We never gave up. Just kept fighting. What a race there at the end. That was pretty wild.”
Wild may not describe exactly what happened. On the restart Kyle Busch split Ragan and Newman, going three-wide instead of pushing Ragan. Truex then drove his car to the inside off of Turn 2 and had the lead by the time the cars moved through Turns 2 and 4. Logano was on Truex’s bumper as they headed through Turn 4 and it wasn’t until the cars reached Turn 1 with three laps remaining that Truex pulled away.
Kyle Busch finished third, followed by Chase Elliott, Ricky Stenhouse and Chris Buescher.
The victory was Truex’s third of the season, matching the win total for Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski in 2019. The race also marked the midway point of NASCAR’s 26-race regular season.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to action this weekend at Pocono.
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