A mistake by Alex Bowman on the final lap of the second stage let Martin Truex Jr. pounce on and pass him to win the stage. After that, the Gander RV 400 was his race to lose.
Lap traffic allowed Kevin Harvick and Truex to reel in Bowman. Harvick tried, but failed to overtake him, as did Truex. On the final lap of the second stage, however, Bowman went too high in Turn 1 and Truex made the pass underneath him to win the stage.
For the final 160 laps, nobody could catch Truex. Aside from a pit cycle under green, he didn’t lose the lead and drove to his 21st Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, and third at Dover International Speedway in his 488th start.
“What a race car we had today,” he said. “(This) SiriusXM Camry was just incredible. Thanks to everybody at the shop…
“We came here with a new setup this time, because we had kind of an older setup that we won with in 2016. We’ve been good, but not good enough.
“Just hats off to Cole (Pearn) James and all those guys, everybody at (Toyota Racing Development) back in California, Costa Mesa for some awesome engines, awesome horsepower.”
He started from the rear of the field, after his car failed pre-race inspection, and ended the race with a nine-second margin of victory. But he swore that it wasn’t as easy as it looked.
“It was a lot of work,” he said. “It was tough, but this race car, man, it was just incredible.”
Alex Bowman, who started in the rear for failing inspection, finished the afternoon in second for the second weekend in a row.
“Talladega (Superspeedway) is a speedway and it’s a lot of luck involved,” Bowman said. “But to come here to, in my opinion, the hardest race track we go to and run from the back of all things was pretty special.
“Just proud of everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for all the improvement we’ve made over the last year or so, and we’re gonna keep it going.”
While Kyle Larson fought a tight-handling car early in the race, he got the car handling right and rounded out the podium for his best finish of the 2019 season.
“And in the last run there, after cycling through green-flag stops, I was really loose and got stuck in traffic and then was just looser in the dirty air,” Larson said. “So, I had to just make sure I hit the bottom lap after lap to hold (Kevin) Harvick off. So, it was good to finally have a clean race. I don’t think we’ve had a clean weekend all year long. And we’re 11 weeks into the season. So, it’s good to finally get a clean day, like I said, and thanks to our race team. Our pit crew did a good job today as well. It was a nice day.”
Harvick and Chase Elliott, who led a race high of 145 laps, rounded out the top five.
“…we just fell off there at the end of that second Stage,” Elliott said. “That was the time of the race that we needed to be controlling it and not falling back. Just a bad time to have a bad half of a run and that is kind of what happened. So, we were fast, just not fast enough when it really mattered.”
Erik Jones, Joey Logano, William Byron, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch rounded out the top 10.
Chase Elliott led the field to green and led the first 108 laps. After Ricky Stenhouse Jr. cut a right-front tire, hit the wall in Turn 1 and brought out the caution on Lap 106, Joey Logano took just right-side tires and exited the pits with the lead. He drove on to win the first stage.
Logano pitted during the stage break, which handed the lead to teammate Brad Keselowski. He led for 57 laps, before he pitted from the lead under green on Lap 181. After a few drivers took turns in the front for nine laps, Elliott cycled back to the lead.
Thanks to lap traffic, Bowman pulled up to his teammate and passed him entering Turn 1 on Lap 223. Likewise, lap traffic allowed Kevin Harvick and Truex to reel him in. Harvick tried, but failed to overtake him, as did Truex. On the final lap of the second stage, however, Bowman went too high in Turn 1 and Truex made the pass underneath him to win the stage.
Truex lost the lead for 27 laps, while Daniel Suarez stayed out hoping to catch a caution. When that strategy failed, he pitted on Lap 347 and Truex led the rest of the way.
Who had a good day
After starting the day in the rear, Bowman drove through the field and led 16 laps, on his way to a runner-up finish.
Teammate Elliott led a race high of 145 laps, on his way to a fifth-place finish.
William Byron earned his second top 10 finish of the season, with an eighth-place finish.
Kyle Busch finished 10th to extend his top 10 streak to 11 races. He tied Morgan Shepherd for the longest top 10 streak in the Modern Era of NASCAR.
Who had a lousy day
Denny Hamlin, who started the day in eighth, quickly fell through the field as his car’s handling went loose. He finished the first stage in 23rd. His afternoon crossed the Mason-Dixon Line when he cut a tire, couldn’t get to pit road and spun in Turn 1 on Lap 265.
Nuts and bolts
The race lasted three hours eight minutes and 37 seconds, at an average speed of 127.242 mph.
There were 15 lead changes among 11 different drivers and six cautions for 31 laps.
Kyle Busch leaves with a nine-point lead.
Monster Energy Cup Series Race Number 11
Race Results for the 50th Annual Gander RV 400 – Monday, May 6, 2019
Dover International Speedway – Dover, DE – 1. – Mile Concrete
Total Race Length – 400 Laps – 400. Miles
|1||13||19||Martin Truex Jr.||SiriusXM Toyota||400||0||1||50||Running|
|2||5||88||Alex Bowman||Nationwide Small Business Chevrolet||400||7||2||48||Running|
|3||3||42||Kyle Larson||Credit One Bank Chevrolet||400||4||6||46||Running|
|4||6||4||Kevin Harvick||Jimmy John’s Ford||400||5||3||47||Running|
|5||1||9||Chase Elliott||NAPA Brakes Chevrolet||400||3||4||47||Running|
|6||15||20||Erik Jones||Sport Clips Toyota||400||9||10||34||Running|
|7||4||22||Joey Logano||Shell Pennzoil Ford||400||1||0||40||Running|
|8||2||24||William Byron||Axalta Chevrolet||400||6||0||34||Running|
|9||10||14||Clint Bowyer||Mobil 1 Ford||400||10||9||31||Running|
|10||22||18||Kyle Busch||Pedigree Toyota||400||0||8||30||Running|
|11||14||41||Daniel Suarez||Haas Automation Ford||400||0||0||26||Running|
|12||9||2||Brad Keselowski||Miller Lite Ford||399||2||5||40||Running|
|13||19||1||Kurt Busch||Monster Energy Chevrolet||399||0||0||24||Running|
|14||12||48||Jimmie Johnson||Ally Chevrolet||399||0||0||23||Running|
|15||11||12||Ryan Blaney||Menards/Duracell Ford||399||8||7||29||Running|
|16||7||10||Aric Almirola||Smithfield Ford||399||0||0||21||Running|
|17||18||21||Paul Menard||Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford||399||0||0||20||Running|
|18||21||6||Ryan Newman||Wyndham Rewards Ford||398||0||0||19||Running|
|19||16||3||Austin Dillon||AAA Chevrolet||398||0||0||18||Running|
|20||17||95||Matt DiBenedetto||FDNY Foundation Toyota||398||0||0||17||Running|
|21||8||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Office Toyota||397||0||0||16||Running|
|22||25||13||Ty Dillon||Twisted Tea Chevrolet||397||0||0||15||Running|
|23||30||37||Chris Buescher||Degree Chevrolet||397||0||0||14||Running|
|24||26||34||Michael McDowell||Dockside Logistics Ford||395||0||0||13||Running|
|25||23||8||Daniel Hemric #||Caterpillar Chevrolet||394||0||0||12||Running|
|26||24||38||David Ragan||MDS Transport Ford||393||0||0||11||Running|
|27||27||43||Bubba Wallace||World Wide Technology Chevrolet||393||0||0||10||Running|
|28||29||47||Ryan Preece #||Kroger Chevrolet||392||0||0||9||Running|
|29||28||32||Corey LaJoie||CorvetteParts.net Ford||392||0||0||8||Running|
|30||36||15||Ross Chastain(i)||Low T Center Chevrolet||389||0||0||0||Running|
|31||31||0||Landon Cassill(i)||KODRA Communications Chevrolet||389||0||0||0||Running|
|32||32||36||Matt Tifft #||Surface Sunscreen/Tunity Ford||387||0||0||5||Running|
|33||20||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Little Hug Ford||386||0||0||4||Running|
|34||33||51||Cody Ware(i)||Jacob Companies Ford||383||0||0||0||Running|
|35||37||27||* Reed Sorenson||Chevrolet||356||0||0||2||Engine|
|36||35||77||Quin Houff||Chevrolet||168||0||0||1||Too Slow|