Surprise: Martin Truex Jr. Owns Final Stretch at NASCAR Sonoma, Claims Victory
Few were more surprised at Martin Truex Jr.’s stunning late race performance at Sonoma on Sunday…than himself.
Oakley’s NASCAR ripper topped fellow O driver Juan Pablo Montoya and Jeff Gordon for victory, halting an extensive Sprint Cup Series drought stretching back to 2007.
“You can’t explain the feeling,” Martin said following his second career triumph. “When it’s been that long and you worked so hard and you’ve been so close … you think at times, man, is this ever going to happen again? It’s pretty surreal. Unbelievable.”
Leading three times throughout the afternoon in Northern California’s wine country, he first found his way to the front after a large group of cars pitted on Lap 84. But it was the final stretch that saw Martin gap the field.
With ten laps to go, the lead was extended to five seconds ahead of a then second Juan Pablo, only to stretch to 8.133 as he crossed the finish ahead of Jeff Gordon. A trailing Montoya would run out of gas as he approached the checkered flags – leaving him in 34th on the result sheet.
“I’m ecstatic. I’m not sure how all it happened,” Martin continued.
It was quite simply one of Michael Waltrip Racing’s steady contenders finding his form on a road course that has seen nine different winners the past nine years – the last being fellow Oakley and MWR driver Clint Bowyer taking the “W” in 2012.
But despite the grand challenge, win drought and eyebrow raising performance; Martin was pretty blunt in his assessment of the afternoon.
“I didn’t care what happened. It didn’t matter. I was nervous about a caution but just tried to focus and run the speed I needed to run…Believe it or not, it was easy."