NASCAR: Martin Truex Jr. snaps 218-race losing streak
By JENNA FRYER
The Associated PressFirst published Jun 23 2013 05:16PM
Sonoma, Calif. • The post-race party was a blur after Martin Truex Jr.’s first win in 2007. The celebratory cool-down lap, the burnouts, the drive to Victory Lane all happened so fast.
So he planned to savor every minute of his next win.
He just didn’t think it would take six years.
Truex snapped a 218-race winless streak Sunday with an easy victory on the road course at Sonoma Raceway. It was only the second win of Truex’s career, but it put Michael Waltrip Racing in Victory Lane for the second year in a row after Clint Bowyer won here last season.
Overwhelmed with emotion as he crossed the finish line, Truex made the celebration count.
"I was a freaking mess. It was terrible," he said. "I had to stop and start doing donuts because I couldn’t think about what I was doing. I tried to key the radio once and I couldn’t even talk. So I thought, ‘OK, I’m going to do some donuts and wave to the fans.’ But after I stopped the first time and did that, I calmed down a little bit and I just wanted to make sure I took my time coming back, because I remember at Dover it all happens way too fast. You never know when you’re going to get that opportunity again."
Truex worked his way to the front and used strategy to stay with the leaders. He then pulled away after the final restart and built a healthy lead of more than six seconds over Juan Pablo Montoya, who was running second until he ran out of gas on the final lap.
"I’m ecstatic. But I’m not exactly sure how that happened," said Truex, who admitted he wasn’t pleased with his car following Friday’s practices. "The car was just phenomenal all day long, and once I was near the front and didn’t have to run the car 110 percent, it just would stay with me on the long runs and I was able to drive away from everyone."
Montoya, who came into the weekend knowing if he didn’t win he would at least have a huge points day, dropped all the way to 34th after having to coast to the finish.
Jeff Gordon finished second a week after he was wrecked six laps into the race at Michigan but felt like he might have had a chance to win if he had not already committed to pit seconds before a caution came out early in the race.
Carl Edwards was third, followed by Kurt Busch, who climbed back from a pair of speeding penalties.