TRUEX STRIKES GOLD OUT WEST

Montoya Heartbroken at Sonoma

South Florida resident Juan Pablo Montoya ran out of fuel on the last lap at Sonoma to record a 34th place finish. He dropped one position in the point standings to 23rd and trails leader Jimmie Johnson by 202 points. Montoya is 82 points out of the Chase (photo courtesy: Jared C. Tilton, GETTY IMAGES SPORT)

Martin Truex Jr. took control of the race in the second half at Sonoma and kept a firm hold on it all the way to the checkered flag, cruising to his second career victory and halting a winless streak that stretched back to June 2007. 

Truex led a race-high 51 of 110 laps, to deliver the first victory of the season for Michael Waltrip Racing and moved into 10th place in the championship standings. Truex last visited Victory Lane at Dover six years ago and had gone 218 races without another trip … until Sunday.  He started 14th, grabbed his first lead at Lap 41 and gave MWR its second straight win at Sonoma.

Clint Bowyer was victorious at the Northern California road course in 2012 and finished fifth in Sunday’s race. Carl Edwards took third place and trimmed Jimmie Johnson’s championship lead to just 25 points with just ten races remaining before the post-season Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup begins. The Chase will consist of the Top 10 drivers in points plus the two drivers from 11th to 20th with the most wins after Race 26. The Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 17.

Truex Jr. laughed about his six-year winless drought, spanning 218 races, after winning Sunday’s race.

“Michael had 400 or some,’’ he said of team owner Michael Waltrip’s 462-race winless streak before his first victory. “I wasn’t even close.’’

South Florida resident, Juan Pablo Montoya, was running second two laps from the finish but ran out of fuel and was forced to settle for 34th place finish after he stopped his powerless car on the start/finish line and walked back to the garage.  

“You kidding me?’’ Montoya said on his radio after he ran out of fuel. “We would have saved fuel.’’

“This is what we’ve been doing all year,’’ Montoya said. “We all work together and we’re all trying to do the best we can. We’re not (23rd) in points because we’re not running fast. We’re (23rd) in points because we’ve had a lot of mechanical problems and days like this we throw them away.’’

Next up for the Sprint Cup drivers is Kentucky on Saturday, June 29 (7:30 p.m. EDT, TNT, Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90)—Race 16 of 36 en route to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 15-17). The Chase will consist of the Top 10 drivers in points plus the two drivers from 11th to 20th with the most wins after Race 26. The Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 17.

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