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Race report

NASCAR Cup Sonoma: Truex leads Toyota turnaround to take controlled victory

Martin Truex Jr put in a flawless performance to cruise to victory in the NASCAR Cup race at Sonoma Raceway – his fourth at the California circuit.

It took 33 laps for Truex to get into the lead in Sunday’s race but once he did, he didn’t deviate far from it with a fast #19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

A late-race caution, triggered by Hamlin’s crash into the wall, sent most of the lead-lap cars – including Truex – into the pits for new tyres but Chase Elliott, and two other runners lower down the order, stayed out on the restart with 15 of 110 laps remaining.

It took Truex less than two laps to power around Elliott to reclaim the lead and he easily held off Kyle Busch by 2.979 seconds to earn his second win of the 2023 season.

The victory is the 33rd of Truex’s career and his fourth at the 1.99-mile road course, the most recent coming in 2019.

The win on a road course was a dramatic turnaround for Truex and his Joe Gibs squad, which struggled terribly on this type of track last season. Last season, the highest finishing Toyota driver at Sonoma was 18th.

“It took a lot of hard work by everybody at Toyota and TRD and everybody at JGR,” Truex said. “We had to do some work with NASCAR and redesign some stuff – everybody did – and they did a good job there.

“Just hats off to my team. To be so bad here last year and come back and do that with the same car basically, it’s really unbelievable.”

Race winner Martin Truex Jr, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry, winner

Race winner Martin Truex Jr, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry, winner

Photo by: Ben Earp / NKP / Motorsport Images

With Kyle Busch second, he kept clear of Joey Logano at the finish, while Chris Buescher also got by Elliott late on to take fourth.

Elliott clung on to fifth on his older tyres to beat A.J. Allmendinger and Michael McDowell, as Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell and Ross Chastain completed the top 10 finishers.

Hamlin failed to finish due to significant damage to his #11 Toyota in his crash that caused the late-race caution.

NASCAR Cup - Sonoma race results (110 laps)

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Gap Interval
1 19 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota    
2 8 United States Kyle Busch Chevrolet 2.979 2.979
3 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 7.436 4.457
4 17 United States Chris Buescher Ford 8.707 1.271
5 9 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 11.298 2.591
6 16 United States A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet 12.260 0.962
7 34 United States Michael McDowell Ford 13.747 1.487
8 5 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 14.490 0.743
9 20 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 15.028 0.538
10 1 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 15.579 0.551
11 4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 16.067 0.488
12 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 16.670 0.603
13 41 United States Ryan Preece Ford 17.208 0.538
14 24 United States William Byron Chevrolet 17.776 0.568
15 48 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 18.678 0.902
16 6 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 19.303 0.625
17 23 United States Bubba Wallace Toyota 20.646 1.343
18 54 Ty Gibbs Toyota 20.797 0.151
19 3 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 21.482 0.685
20 7 United States Corey Lajoie Chevrolet 22.663 1.181
21 31 United States Justin Haley Chevrolet 23.958 1.295
22 99 Mexico Daniel Suarez Chevrolet 27.655 3.697
23 77 United States Ty Dillon Chevrolet 28.831 1.176
24 51 United States Todd Gilliland Ford 29.860 1.029
25 2 United States Austin Cindric Ford 30.608 0.748
26 42 United States Grant Enfinger Chevrolet 32.444 1.836
27 21 United States Harrison Burton Ford 33.974 1.530
28 10 United States Aric Almirola Ford 36.437 2.463
29 14 United States Chase Briscoe Ford 36.503 0.066
30 78 United States Josh Bilicki Chevrolet 36.833 0.330
31 12 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 44.326 7.493
32 43 United States Erik Jones Chevrolet 1 Lap 1 Lap
33 45 United States Tyler Reddick Toyota 1 Lap 22.292
34 38 Zane Smith Ford 1 Lap 7.719
35 15 United States Andy Lally Ford 1 Lap 2.034
36 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 18 Laps 17 Laps

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