Don’t expect another Truex-style domination in Sunday’s race

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 23: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER/USO Toyota, drives during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

One of Martin Truex Jr.’s fondest memories is the whipping he put on the rest of the field in the 2016 Coca-Cola 600.

Truex led 392 of 400 laps (good for a NASCAR record 588 of the 600 miles), surrendering the top spot only on pit stops. He crossed the finish line 2.572 seconds ahead of runner-up Kevin Harvick.

Will that sort of domination be a possibility in Sunday’s 60th running of NASCAR’s longest race (6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)?

As far as Truex is concerned, you can forget about that prospect.

“Just to be able to do that at this level is something you dream of,” said Truex, who was 11th fastest in Saturday’s final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice. “The fact that no one will probably lead more laps than that ever, ever, ever, and that’s just crazy to think about.

“Pretty cool and I wouldn’t say we need to duplicate that, but I would like to try to win another one. It’s a special race to win. It’s one of the crown jewels.”

SHORT STROKES

Seeking his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, Daniel Suarez topped the speed charts in both Saturday practices for the Coca-Cola 600. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver posted a top speed of 182.143 mph in Saturday’s first session and a best lap at 180.705 mph on a hotter track in final practice. Suarez also had the sixth best 10-consecutive lap average speed in Happy Hour (179.134 mph). “We have a good piece, and hopefully we can take advantage of it tomorrow,” Suarez said…

Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Newman smacked the outside wall on the final lap of Saturday morning’s first practice and flattened the right side of his No. 6 Ford. Newman’s crew did yeoman work to repair the primary car in time for final practice. Newman ran 35 laps in the session and was 28th fastest of the 32 drivers who participated…

Denny Hamlin had the quickest Toyota in final practice, running the third fastest lap at 180.554 mph. The reigning Daytona 500 winner hopes the speed in his Joe Gibbs Racing Camry will help overcome a 20th-place starting position. “It should be pretty good,” Hamlin said after Happy Hour. “I felt pretty good with our practice there. It was one of our better practices of the year. We’re going to have to start from deep in the field, which is going to be a challenge with traffic, but we’ve got a long race to get it done. Pretty happy with where we’re at.”

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