Truex runs away with win at the Monster Mile

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.”

DOVER, Del. – MAY 06: Alex Bowman, driver of the #88 Nationwide Small Business Chevrolet, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Gander RV 400 at Dover International Speedway on May 6, 2019 in Dover, Delaware. Photo: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

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.

RACE SUMMARY

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.

DOVER, Del. – MAY 06: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Gander RV 400 at Dover International Speedway on May 6, 2019 in Dover, Delaware. Photo: Chris Trotman/Getty Images

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

Fin Str No Driver Team Laps S1Pos S2Pos Pts Status
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
37 34 52 BJ McLeod(i) Chevrolet 96 0 0 0 Engine
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My name is Tucker White. I'm currently majoring in journalism at the University of Tennessee. I started getting into NASCAR around 1998 and started following the sport full-time in 2001. I live and breathe everything related to NASCAR. I also have a burning passion for all things auto racing. I've been following Formula 1 since 2011 and am slowing getting into IndyCar. I do my best to keep up with the World Endurance Championship. But at the end of the day, NASCAR is my primary beat. Being both a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and a student at UT, I'm naturally a die-hard Tennessee Volunteers fan. Especially when it comes to Tennessee Volunteers football. While I'll never stop being one, it can be the most heart-wrenching thing ever. Since 2005, this team has delivered more than its fair share of heartbreaking moments and inhuman frustration. I've stuck with the Vols from the best of times - 1998 National Champions - to the worst of times - 2005 to present - because I know that it'll make it all so worth it when the mighty Vols finally return to the top of the college football landscape. In the last few years, I started to really get into baseball. This past season, I decided to pledge my sporting allegiance to the Atlanta Braves. It didn't turn out too well as they finished 67-95 and finished fourth in the NL East. I do see great potential with the young roster and they might be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

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