NASCAR Cup Series
Race Results: NASCAR Cup Series Crayon 301 at New Hampshire
Jul 17, 2023
There aren't words to describe the level of dominance that Martin Truex Jr. displayed in Monday's rain-delayed NASCAR Cup Series Crayon 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Reser's Fine Foods Toyota Camry swept Stages 1 and 2, and he led a race-high 254 laps on his path to his third victory of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Aside from a rash of late-race cautions, his victory never seemed to be in doubt. Truex, who badly wanted to score his first win at New Hampshire a track he attended as a young child, voiced frustration on his team radio about several cautions in the closing laps, which kept giving Joey Logano and others an additional shot at stealing the win away.
"Stop wrecking, everybody just stop wrecking," Truex said about what was going through his mind during the late-race yellows. "Yeah, luckily we were able to hold them off. The car was just so fast. I don't know, I don't even know what to say. I'm speechless. Been after this one for a long time. This one is sweet."
Though victory had eluded Truex at the 1.058-mile speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire until Monday, the track has always had a special place in his heart.
"I sat in Turn 1 with my mom," Truex said of when he was a young race fan. "My little brother was drinking out of a bottle, so it was -- we were young, 12, 13, maybe 14, whatever. But this is the first big track I ever came to with my dad and watched and the first time I ever seen Cup cars in person and Busch cars in person. It's been a special place for us."
At the end of the dominating day, Truex thanked his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team for fielding him an incredible race car, one that was good enough to hold off a hard-charging Joey Logano by 0.394 sec. in the closing laps on Monday.
Truex, the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion, is now a 34-time winner in the NASCAR Cup Series.
For Logano, who has one win on the season, it was another close, but no cigar moment. But Logano, and his No. 22 team, who felt the Ford teams were at a disadvantage earlier in the season, feel like their program is starting to find its strides as the Playoffs are closing in.
"Yeah, directionally that was good we tried a lot of new things today," Logano explained. "We weren't good here last year, so we tried a lot of different things. Some things better, some things not, but overall kind of can hang in the Top 5 all day and have a shot at the win. Still a lot of work to do to be the favorite at the moment, but we're making the right steps right now."
Kyle Larson finished behind the top-two finishers in third, and he was happy with being able to leave New Hampshire -- a track he admits he struggles at -- with a podium finish.
Kevin Harvick, and Brad Keselowski finished the day in fourth and fifth. Solid runs for the two veteran racers.
Tyler Reddick, Denny Hamlin, Bubba Wallace, Austin Dillon, and Chase Briscoe rounded out the top-10 finishers on the day.
It was a heartbreaking day for Aric Almirola, who looked to have a shot to score a win, until a right rear tire was left loose on a pit stop under caution at Lap 164.
When the race returned to green, Almirola, the race leader at the time, had a wheel disconnect from his car, which sent him crashing into the outside wall in Turn 2.
What could have been a win, turned into a 34th-place DNF for Almirola.
“[under caution] I spun the tires a few times – everything felt normal," Almirola said. "I didn’t really have any concerns going into the restart, and then, obviously, the right-rear wheel came off. So, just really, really disappointed. This race team has been working so hard to bring fast race cars to the track. I’m so proud of everybody – Drew and all the guys on our team.
"We’re not capitalizing when we have cars capable of running up-front. Just frustrating… disappointing… all the words you can use to describe being upset is certainly where we are. I hate it."
Almirola will look to bounce back next weekend at Pocono Raceway.
Photo Credit: Lesley Ann Miller, LAT Images, Courtesy of Toyota Racing