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Sonoma NASCAR: Truex fends off JGR Toyota team-mate Busch to win

Martin Truex Jr Sonoma NASCAR 2019

Joe Gibbs Racing's Martin Truex Jr clinched his fourth NASCAR Cup Series victory of the 2019 season, resisting late pressure from team-mate Kyle Busch at Sonoma.

Busch made his final pitstop three laps later than Truex Jr, and carried a tyre advantage into the final 23 laps of the 90-lap race.

Emerging eight seconds adrift of his race leading team-mate, Busch rapidly closed the gap initially, although after drawing to within two seconds of Truex Jr with 12 laps remaining, the margin then stabilised.

Truex maintained that cushion over the remaining laps and crossed the line with a 1.8-second advantage, to match both Busch's tally of 2019 victories and his Cup career total of four road-course wins.

Both drivers started stage three towards the front of the field - with Truex leading the pack and Busch in fourth - utilising a pit strategy in which they sacrificed points by pitting prior to the end of both stages.

In order to climb up to second place, Busch had to clear both Ryan Blaney's Penske Ford as well as Chase Elliott's Hendrick Motorsports' Chevrolet.

His move on Blaney left battle scars, as Busch hit the back of the #12 car in a bump-and-run move. He apologised to Blaney's team on the radio but continued to march forward - his pace not diminished by his crushed nose.

Blaney was another driver who opted to pit prior to the end of the stages and finished third for Penske, albeit half a minute behind the top two.

Leavine Family Racing's Matt DiBenedetto's previous best finish this season was 12th at Bristol, but he stormed to a career-best fourth place.

DiBenedetto started the final stage in fifth but lost ground leading up to the final stops. Emerging in ninth place, the #95 Toyota driver started to surge back through the pack.

His charge to fourth was completed when he dived to the inside of Kevin Harvick at the Turn 11 hairpin.

Harvick had struggled to find a set-up through the weekend, and ran with team-mate Clint Bowyer's settings during the race.

He had been on the periphery of the top 10 throughout the day until an early final pitstop propelled him to fourth, before he slipped back to sixth.

Harvick was demoted in the closing stages by JGR's Denny Hamlin, who ended up fifth.

Hamlin finished highest of the drivers who did not pit prior to the end of the stages. He finished second in stage one before claiming victory in stage two, but started the final segment in 23rd place.

Ryan Newman and Erik Jones finished seventh and eighth - Jones recovering from being sent to the rear of the field at the start for unapproved changes after qualifying.

Stage one winner William Byron failed to make the progress of Hamlin in the final segment, despite running the same strategy. He finished 19th.

Result

PosDriverTeamCarLaps
1Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota90
2Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota90
3Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord90
4Matt DiBenedettoLeavine Family RacingToyota90
5Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota90
6Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord90
7Ryan NewmanRoush Fenway RacingFord90
8Erik JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota90
9Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord90
10Kyle LarsonChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet90
11Clint BowyerStewart-Haas RacingFord90
12Jimmie JohnsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet90
13Kurt BuschChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet90
14Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet90
15Daniel HemricRichard Childress RacingChevrolet90
16Chris BuescherJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet90
17Daniel SuarezStewart-Haas RacingFord90
18Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFord90
19William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet90
20David RaganFront Row MotorsportsFord90
21Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Roush Fenway RacingFord90
22Paul MenardWood Brothers RacingFord90
23Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord90
24Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet90
25Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord89
26Darrell Wallace Jr.Richard Petty MotorsportsChevrolet89
27Ty DillonGermain RacingChevrolet89
28Matt TifftFront Row MotorsportsFord89
29Ryan PreeceJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet89
30Parker KligermanGaunt Brothers RacingToyota89
31Landon CassillStarCom RacingChevrolet89
32Corey LaJoieGo FAS RacingFord89
33Ross ChastainPremium MotorsportsChevrolet89
34J.J. HaleySpire MotorsportsChevrolet88
35Reed SorensonPremium MotorsportsChevrolet88
36Cody WareRick Ware RacingChevrolet64
37Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet60
38J.J. YeleyPetty Ware RacingChevrolet53

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