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Pure Dominance: Martin Truex Jr Wins the Crayon 301 at New Hampshire

Written by Sean McKean, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Leading all but a few laps, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr won the Crayon 301 at New Hampshire. It is the New Jersey native’s third win of the season, and his first win at New Hampshire.

An elated Truex Jr after a dominant showing. Credit - Meg Oliphant

Stage 1

After yet another weather delay pushing the race back to Monday afternoon, Christopher Bell and Martin Truex Jr. led the field to the green flag. Though Bell initially held the lead, Truex ended up getting by to the top spot on lap three.

Since the rain from the evening prior washed all of the rubber away, the first caution of the race was thrown by race control on lap 30. However, race control didn’t need to bring out a caution, as AJ Allmendinger brought out the caution himself, with a spin at turn two.

William Byron led the field back to the green on lap 34. Even after taking only two tyres, Byron held the lead over the rapid Martin Truex behind for nine laps.

The Joe Gibbs driver eventually went on to win the first stage of the race, with William Byron and Tyler Reddick following suit behind. Right as the stage ended, however, Kyle Busch and Corey LaJoie slammed the wall off of turn two, bringing an end to their rough weekends.

Stage 2

The dominant Truex led the field back to the green flag for the beginning of Stage 2. The race went quiet until pit cycles, after which Truex still retained the lead, and extended his gap over second-placed Aric Almirola.

Throughout the long run in Stage two, many drivers emerged with strong long-run pace. One of them was Kyle Larson, coming from P20 on the short runs to fifth place during the caution-free period.

However, the long run was interrupted on lap 163, when Erik Jones went around in turn four. Truex lost the lead under the yellow flag pit stops, with Almirola taking two tyres, and thus, the lead.

Almirola’s lead did not last long though, as his left rear tyre failed going into turn two on the ensuing restart. This saw him slam the outside wall, ending his strong run during the race.

The next restart would be much cleaner, though, with Martin Truex Jr taking the lead back from the short-pitting Kyle Larson. Truex went on to win the second stage of the day, with Kyle Larson and Joey Logano just behind.

Joey Logano gave Truex Jr a good fight through the race. Credit - Meg Oliphant

Final Stage

More of the same occurred at the start of the final stage, with Martin Truex continuing to edge out his lead over Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano.

The race quickly turned into a two-horse race between Blaney and Truex. Blaney would be the first to pit road on lap 237, with Truex following on lap 238. Fortunately for the 2017 champion, he would gain more time, following a speedy mid-stage pit stop.

A race-changing caution would come out with 31 laps to go, as Legacy Motor Club’s Noah Gragson experienced a brake rotor failure going into turn one, slamming the wall. The ensuing pit cycles, as a result, changed the order massively, with Ryan Blaney getting a penalty for equipment infringement, and Chase Briscoe moving into the top six.

With Austin Dillon pitting late into the green flag run, he would lead the field to green flag running, alongside Kevin Harvick. As was the case on the day, Truex Jr made easy pickings of Harvick, taking the lead back. Though Joey Logano began to challenge Truex for the lead, a crash in turn two between Alex Bowman and Ty Gibbs brought out the caution once again, with 22 laps remaining.

On the 16-to-go restart, Truex briefly drove away from the pack, but Logano would catch right back up. However, as quickly as the race restarted, it would be back under yellow as Christopher Bell slammed the wall in turn three, resulting in his second finish outside the top two at New Hampshire.

Martin Truex Jr celebrates after a dominant showing in New Hampshire. Credit - Jonathan Bachman

Logano’s assault for the lead continued on the nine-to-go restart, this time with Kyle Larson following behind. Although, it would not be enough, as Martin Truex Jr. went on to take his third win of the season. Joey Logano and Kyle Larson had to settle for second and third respectively. Kevin Harvick’s gamble of two tyres worked, as he went to take fourth place. Brad Keselowski would show great promise from the RFK camp, finishing fifth on the road.

If you would like to catch the next bit of NASCAR’s Cup Series action, America’s best will be heading to Pocono on July 24.


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