Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Martin Truex sets record for dominance in winning Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600

CONCORD, N.C. — Martin Truex didn't avoid ladders or black cats, never worried about cracking mirrors or stepping on cracks. He knew his bad luck in Sprint Cup would change.

Truex showed that in a big way Sunday night, leading 588 of 600 miles — a NASCAR record — to win the Coca-Cola 600 and break free of the bad luck that seemed to hit him when dominating races.

"There's a lot of emotion right now, not real sure it's sunk in yet," Truex said. "Real amazing weekend, the kind you dream about."

Especially when things have gone as wrong as they had for Truex and his single-car Furniture Row team the past year.

He led 141 laps at Texas, yet got strung up by poor pit strategy and finished sixth. This month at Kansas, he was out front for 172 laps until a loose wheel knocked him back to 14th.

A year ago here, Truex led the most laps at 131 but fell to fifth when he pitted for fuel late and four cars, including winner Carl Edwards, stayed out.

Truex never let it get to him.

"I had confidence. I had faith," he said.

Truex won for the fourth time in NASCAR's top series and the first time since last June at Pocono.

Kevin Harvick was second, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch.

Truex's win finished Memorial Day weekend's mega-day of high-end racing that began with Lewis Hamilton's win at the Grand Prix of Monaco and continued with American rookie Alexander Rossi's surprise triumph in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Truex took the surprise out of this one early on his way to all but clinching a spot in the season-ending Chase for the Championship. He was passed by Johnson on a restart 55 laps from the end, but Truex went back in front a lap later and was not pushed again.

Truex bettered Jim Paschal's mark of leading 335 laps to win at Charlotte in 1967, outclassing the armada of multicar Sprint Cup powerhouses.

Four-time Coca-Cola 600 winner Johnson was on Truex's door a handful of times on restarts, then would fade back. Harvick, who won here in 2011 and 2013, was the best of rest as he got by Johnson 44 laps from the end — yet never made a serious run at the top.

Truex's Toyota was so fast that no one passed him all night during green flag racing. The only time he gave up the lead was when he pitted and others stayed on the track.

"I mean, they have had a few runs where they have just been the class of the field and things have kept them from Victory Lane," Johnson said. "Tonight, he wasn't going to be denied. There was no way around that."

Owner Roger Penske, who had a disappointing day at Indianapolis, hoped to rebound with his NASCAR duo of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, who won the All-Star Race last week at CMS.

But Logano was set back by a pit road penalty, and Keselowski never made a serious challenge.

NASCAR's longest race of the season was also among its cleanest, with just four cautions — and one of those was to check tire wear over the first 25 laps. The four caution periods took up just 19 laps, leading to Charlotte records for fastest average speed (160.644 mph) and fastest race (3 hours, 44 minutes, 8 seconds).

Sprint Cup points

Through 13 of 36 races. The top 16 drivers, based on wins then points, make the 10-race Chase for the Championship.

Driver PointsBack

Kevin Harvick* 457—

Kurt Busch 421 36

Jimmie Johnson** 409 48

Kyle Busch*** 405 52

Carl Edwards** 404 53

Brad Keselowski** 404 53

Martin Truex* 381 76

Chase Elliott 374 83

Joey Logano 373 84

Matt Kenseth* 347 110

* Wins

Up next

Axalta 400, 1 p.m. Sunday, Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pa. TV/radio: FS1, 102.5-FM

Gearhead stats

Winner's average speed: 160.655 mph

Time of race: 3 hours, 44 minutes, 5 seconds

Margin of victory: 2.572 seconds

Caution flags: Four for 19 laps

Lead changes: Nine among four drivers

Lap leaders: Truex 1-77; . Johnson 78-79; Truex 80-164; Johnson 165; Logano 166; Truex 167-298; Menard 299-300; Truex 301-343; Johnson 344-345; Truex 346-400

Martin Truex sets record for dominance in winning Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 05/29/16 [Last modified: Sunday, May 29, 2016 11:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Red state: Yes, Bill O'Reilly is a Bucs fan

    Blogs

    TAMPA -- The question was simple enough for Bucs fans: Why is former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly wearing a red Bucs polo?

    O'Reilly was wearing the polo during a few video clips from his "No Spin News" podcast posted on his website Monday, which was exciting news for some Bucs fans and not-so-exciting …

    Former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly was sporting a red Bucs polo during his "No Spin News" video podcast Monday. An assistant said the shirt was given to him by former Bucs tight end Dave Moore.
  2. For starters: Slumping LoMo, Dickerson not in Rays lineup tonight vs LHP

    Blogs

    1B Logan Morrison and LF Corey Dickerson, two of the main slumpers in the Rays lineup, are not in tonight's lineup with the Orioles throwing LHP Wade Miley.

    Logan Morrison is 0-for-12 on this homestand.
  3. Ex-Buc Booger McFarland becomes ABC college football analyst

    Blogs

    Former Bucs defensive lineman Booger McFarland is continuing his broadcasting rise by joining ABC's studio coverage for the upcoming college football season, ESPN announced Tuesday.

    Former Bucs lineman Booger McFarland (No. 92) will become an ABC studio analyst this college football season.
  4. Rank the top 10 Bucs players? Here's what fans said

    Blogs

    We mentioned this morning that is was a fun challenge, in response to Sports Illustrated's ranking of the NFL's top 400 players, to ask fans to rank their top 10 Bucs players.

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston during last year's Bucs win against the Seahawks. Evans and Winston finished 1-2 in an informal Twitter poll of fans ranking their top Bucs players.
  5. Brain study examined 111 former NFL players. Only one didn't have CTE.

    Storm

    Researchers studying the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy found that 99 percent of the brains donated by families of former NFL players showed signs of the neurodegenerative disease, according to a new study published Tuesday.

    This combination of photos provided by Boston University shows sections from a normal brain, top, and from the brain of former University of Texas football player Greg Ploetz, bottom, in stage IV of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. According to a report released on Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association, research on the brains of 202 former football players has confirmed what many feared in life -- evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a devastating disease in nearly all the samples, from athletes in the NFL, college and even high school. [Dr. Ann McKee | BU via AP]