January 23, 2019
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Truex rolls to record-breaking Coca-Cola 600 win

Jim Dedmon | USA Today Sports
Jim Dedmon | USA Today Sports
Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (78) celebrates his winning the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

CONCORD, N.C. — Martin Truex Jr. dominated the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday night while claiming his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of 2016.

Truex set records for most laps led in a Coca-Cola 600 and most miles led by a single driver at any track, leading 392 laps of the 400-lap race for a total of 588 miles led.

Kevin Harvick got by Jimmie Johnson inside 50 laps to go and maintained the position to take runner-up honors. Johnson wound up third.

Denny Hamlin finished fourth, and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.

None of Truex’s competitors were able to complete a pass on him on the race track, with all but one lap he didn’t lead coming during cycles of green-flag pit stops.

Jimmie Johnson was able to get the nose of his car out in front of Truex on a couple of restarts but was never able to complete the pass. The second time Johnson inched ahead of Truex on a restart following a caution that came out with 61 laps to go, Johnson was credited with leading one lap.

Joey Logano ran second or third to Truex throughout most of the first half of the race, but a pit-road penalty for a crewman coming over the wall too soon during a green-flag stop on lap 254 put Logano a lap down. He eventually got back on the lead lap but never returned to the front to challenge for the win. He wound up ninth.

Carl Edwards broke into the top three during the cycle of stops, but he was assessed two pit-road penalties during the next cycle of stops on lap 298. He was nabbed speeding on pit road and got caught speeding, again, while serving the initial penalty.

Truex was the leader at the halfway point with Johnson second and Logano third.

After starting on the pole, Truex was in control during the first half of the race. The only four laps he didn’t lead came during green-flag cycles of pit stops, first just before lap 80 and again on lap 165. His 77 laps led before pitting under green on lap 78 set a record for most laps led by a single driver to start the Coca-Cola 600.

Truex had a lead of more than five seconds over Johnson before the green cycle began, but with stops completed, his lead dwindled to just over 2 1/2 seconds over new second-place runner Hamlin because of a stop of over 16 seconds resulting from an issue with a left-side tire change.

When the yellow flag waved on lap 114, everyone headed for pit road again. That time around, pitting wasn’t a problem for Truex. Instead, he had trouble on the restart. Johnson, who had retaken second by that point, got a nose out in front of Truex, but Truex quickly recovered to maintain his lead.

Johnson started the race from the seventh position, highest of any Chevrolet driver. After Logano and Hamlin battled for second in the opening laps, Johnson got up to third by lap 17. By lap 68, he was up to second.

Johnson lost second to Logano during the second cycle of green-flag stops, but on lap 190, he retook the position.

NOTES: Denny Hamlin won the Hisense 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday after leading 76 of the 206 laps. Fellow Sprint Cup Series drivers Austin Dillon and Joey Logano finished second and third, respectively. … Logano won the Sprint All-Star Race, also at Charlotte, on May 21. Logano also won the most recent points-paying Sprint Cup race at CMS last October. … Carl Edwards won the 2015 Coca-Cola 600. … Jimmie Johnson is a four-time Coca-Cola 600 winner, most of any active driver. In all, he has seven wins at CMS. … Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of two tracks on the schedule where reigning Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch is winless. The other is Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.


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