Martin Truex Jr. won his fourth race of the season Sunday holding off Matt Kenseth in a nail-biting fuel mileage gamble. Here’s how it all went down Sunday at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series I Love New York 355 from the Glen.
From his third consecutive pole, the sixth of the season and the 25th of his career, Kyle Busch led the field to the green after putting down the fastest lap of the weekend earlier in the day. Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott and Daniel Suarez made up the top five.
During qualifying, Denny Hamlin, and Clint Bowyer had brake issues; Ryan Newman spun. All three fell to the back, joining Matt DiBenedetto, Boris Said, and Paul Menard who had were also forced to the rear.
Trevor Bayne pitted prior to the green with possible brake issues. Elliott also reported possible brake issues but stayed out. Bayne then headed to the garage.
Busch had the lead by turn 1; Larson had second, Truex, third followed by Elliott and Erik Jones.
Suarez retook fifth by the end of the lap.
The top four had broken away by lap 2 as Jones grabbed fifth again. Suarez dropped back.
Truex took second on lap 4 at turn 6. Busch had a lead nearing three seconds.
Elliott was looking for third on lap 5. He finally got the spot on lap 7. Busch had a lead of 3.4 seconds.
Bayne came out of the garage on lap 10.
Brad Keselowski had been putting pressure on Jones for fifth for several laps; Keselowski hit the inner loop wrong on lap 11 and nearly lost it. Jones was able to pull ahead.
The lead for Busch was 4.4 seconds by lap 15, five to go in the Stage.
Keselowski finally took fifth in turn 7 on lap 16.
Jones missed the inner loop a lap later and had to stop before rejoining the field.
Matt Kenseth and Suarez pitted on the same lap; Ryan Blaney, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and others pitted.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. reported that he was losing power.
Busch caught the rear of the field on lap 19, one lap prior to the end of the stage.
Top 10 Stage 1: Kyle Busch, Truex, Elliott, Larson, Keselowski, Jamie McMurray, AJ Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
The first caution of the day waved and the leaders pitted.
The race off pit road: Kyle Busch, Truex, Keselowski, Austin Dillon and Stenhouse.
Elliott led those who stayed out; Larson, McMurray, Suarez, and Johnson were the top five.
Kyle Busch reported a possible loose left front tire and had to re-pit. The crew found a lug nut stuck between the tire and the wheel.
Earnhardt headed to the garage with engine issues. It wasn’t long before his crew reported he was done for the day.
Truex was the first among those who pitted and he restarted 13th when the green came out to stat lap 25.
Elliott and Larson were side by side by turn one, but Larson slipped; McMurray took second, Suarez third, Larson fourth, Kenseth took fifth. Kyle Busch was 27th.
Larson pitted on lap 29 as did McMurray. McMurray’s crew had issues with the right front tire and spent nearly 30 seconds on pit road.
The lead for Elliott was 3 seconds by lap 30. Truex had worked his way to sixth.
Elliott pitted on lap 31 handing the lead to Suarez. Kenseth, Blaney, Truex and Jones were the top five.
Truex took second on lap 36 and was soon looking for the lead as Stage 2 was coming to an end.
Harvick led a group onto pit road on lap 37. Kyle Busch was up to ninth.
Suarez and Truex were nose to tail on the final lap of the stage with Suarez prevailing. The second caution of the day came at the end of the stage.
Top 10 Stage 2: Suarez, Truex, Kenseth, Blaney, Jones, Hamlin, Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Allmendinger.
The leaders stayed out.
Suarez led when green came back out on lap 45 Truex, Kenseth, Blaney, and Jones followed.
Truex took the lead on the restart; Blaney took second, Suarez settled into third; Kenseth and Hamlin followed.
Kyle Busch and Keselowski got together in the inner loop; both spun but continued but lost many spots there was no caution. Busch pitted for tires.
Keselowski ended up 32nd, after the stop Kyle Busch 34th.
The lead for Truex was soon up to three seconds.
Caution 3 on the day came out when Landon Cassill lost a tire leaving debris on lap 51; just as Keselowski pitted after reporting a vibration.
The leaders all pitted.
Harvick got together with Brad Moffit on pit road; Harvick backed into his stall again with heavy damage.
On the restart on lap 55 Keselowski led Bowyer was second, McMurray third, followed by Blaney and Truex.
Keselowski grabbed the lead, McMurray second, Bowyer third. Behind them it was a mad scramble. When it shook out, Blaney was fourth, Truex fifth.
Danica Patrick spun in turn 1 after contact from Kyle Busch but continued; there was no caution.
Kyla Busch had restarted 20th and was soon 16th.
Truex took fourth on lap 57.
Bowyer took second on lap 59. Truex took third in turn 7 on the same lap.
Truex took second entering the inner loop on lap 61. Blaney took fourth on the same turn a lap later.
After pressuring Keselowski for several laps, Truex grabbed the lead out of turn 7 on lap 64.
Kyle Busch took eighth behind him.
Most of the leaders were reported to be short on fuel.
Larson pitted for two tires and fuel on lap 69.
By lap 72 the lead was hovering around two seconds.
But Keselowski began to reel in Truex and retook the lead on lap 77 in the inner loop. Of all the cars needing fuel, Keselowski needed it the most. Truex was in fuel saving mode. Blaney took third behind.
Kyle Busch was called into pit, but at the last moment it was waved off on lap 78.
Keselowski had a two second lead with 10 laps to go.
Kyle Busch took seventh on lap 81.
Elliott and Kahne pitted on lap 82. Truex was told he was one lap short on fuel.
Blaney took second on lap 83, as Truex was still in fuel saving mode.
Kyle Busch took fourth on lap 84. He pitted a lap later.
Keselowski had a lead of 5.5 seconds with 5 laps to go. He pitted on lap 87 giving Blaney the lead.
Blaney ran out of fuel entering the inner loop on lap 88. He pitted; Truex reassumed the lead with Kenseth just behind. Suarez, Hamlin and Bowyer were just behind.
Keselowski was penalized for going through too many pit boxes.
Truex had the lead, Kenseth was closing as they took the white flag. Truex was able to keep Kenseth at bay and save just enough fuel for the win. Kenseth was second followed by Suarez, Hamlin, and Bowyer in the top five.
Kurt Busch was sixth, Kyle Busch seventh, followed by Blaney, Allmendinger and Jones.
The Monster Energy Cup Series heads back to Michigan for the Pure Michigan 400 next Sunday with live coverage on the NBC Sports Network at 3:00 p.m. ET.