Truex Ekes Out Fuel-Mileage NASCAR Victory At The Glen

Winner Martin Truex Jr celebrates the win. [Joe Jennings Photo]

Winner Martin Truex Jr celebrates the win. [Joe Jennings Photo]

by Joe Jennings

WATKINS GLEN, N. Y. – Saving fuel and yielding the lead with 10 laps to go, Martin Truex Jr. gritted his teeth and dropped back to third but when his foes pitted for fuel two laps from the end, the New Jersey native regained the lead to win the 32nd I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at The Glen.

A capacity crowd gathered in the sunshine to watch the 90-lap race run on the 2.45-mile road course.

The victor described the win as one of the hardest of his career. “Racers want to race. It was excruciating. I couldn’t believe how slow I was going. This is my first-ever fuel mileage win ever,” Truex said, who led three times for a race-leading 24 laps.

“I’ve been coming here for a long time and have always wanted to win here,” he added. “I watched my dad race here, which is why this win is so special. And it is a feather in your cap to win on a road course.”

Driving the Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota, Truex won for the fourth time in 2017 and career-wise, he won for the 11th time in 427 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series races.

In winning, he strengthened his point lead to 116 over Kyle Busch with Kyle Larson third 122 back.

On the final lap, Matt Kenseth made a valiant attempt to catch Truex but came up .414 seconds short. “We were both saving fuel until that final lap, but I couldn’t get close enough to Martin to do any good. We needed to win and it was disappointing not to do so, particularly when he missed turn six,” noted Kenseth.

Daniel Suarez finished third for his best-ever performance.

Expectant father Denny Hamlin garnered fourth, giving Toyota the top four finishers.

Clint Bowyer took fifth.

Sixth through 10th were Kurt and Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, A. J. Allmendinger and rookie Erik Jones.

Brad Keselowski ended up 15th after having to stop for fuel with two to go, but drew a penalty for driving through too many pit boxes. Overall, he led 20 laps. Earlier in race, he got together with Kyle Busch while battling for seventh.

Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished last after completing only 22 laps.

Three harmless caution flags slowed the race for eight laps.

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