CONCORD, N.C. – After 400 laps around the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway, one thing became very apparent after the last restart. Martin Truex, Jr. was not going to be denied Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 victory, thus earning his second Crown Jewel win for the event.
With five laps remaining, and lined up fifth, the race’s final restart had one car in the front row on old tires and another with two new and two old. Lined up behind them were several drivers with four fresh tires. What could go wrong, right?
For Truex, nothing did as he dove to the low side on the backstretch making it a four-wide battle for the lead. It turned out to be the winning move as the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Toyota held off a hard charging Joey Lagano to earn his third win of 2019.
Earlier in the race, Truex thought his checkered flag chances were dashed when he cut a right-front tire, brushed the outside wall causing slight damage to his car. However, in the end, he was the one in Victory Lane.
“We just never gave up,” Truex proclaimed. “That was just incredible — what a race. This is for everybody who gave their life so we could be here doing this tonight.
“What a hell of a team. I thought we were done. We blew a tire and hit the wall. We never gave up on it. Just kept fighting, just kept fighting. What a race there at the end. That was pretty wild.”
Truex led a race-high 116 laps and also won Stage 3. There were 11 different leaders with Brad Keselowski leading 76 laps winning Stages 1 and 2.
Logano and the No. 22 Team Penske Ford didn’t lead any laps, but their second-place finish left them with a good points reward. It appeared the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion was going to pull of late-race move on the final restart and take the win.
“The 38 (David Ragan) ran really high, and I thought he was going to run the middle and I kind of misjudged it,” Logano said. “That’s what just killed a little bit of momentum where Martin was just able to have enough momentum to clear me off that corner.
“At that point I shoved him ahead to try to make the pass to the outside, but he defended it well. The good thing is we kept fighting and got something out of the day.”
Rounding out the top-five finishers was Kyle Busch in third, followed by Chase Elliott and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. This was Stenhouse’s first top-five finish of the year.
Next week, the Cup series heads to the Tricky Triangle of Pocono Raceway.
Poignant Mid-Race Moment
After the completion of Stage 2, all cars were brought to pit road and stopped while their crews lined the pit wall. With engines off, the entire crowd stood and everyone shared a 30-second Moment of Silence in observance of Memorial Day.