A clutch restart earns Martin Truex Jr first-ever Phoenix win in the NASCAR Cup Series Instacart 500 on Sunday afternoon.
The NASCAR Cup Series wrapped up its two-weekend stint out west with a 312 lap race at Phoenix Raceway. Phoenix is a unique course due to its dog-legged front stretch where drivers use up the whole racing surface. This one-mile course is one of the most demanding on the schedule. Drivers need to use great discipline while braking into the corners to not overuse the brakes too early. With high heat, and constant need to break into the corner, teams often suffer from a brake failure throughout the race.
The First Stage Win of the Season for Blaney
Brad Keselowski controlled the field to the green flag to begin the action. Denny Hamlin had a great jump on the opening restart and was able to make an early pass for the lead. Hamlin controlled the field to the competition caution on lap 30. Brad Keselowski returned to the lead on the restart but was passed once again. This time Ryan Blaney paced the field through the midpoint of stage one. Blaney dominated the second half of the first stage and picked up his first stage win of the season.
Logano Dominates Second Stage
The second stage of the race was Joey Logano’s time to shine. He cycled into the lead under the stage break and jumped out to a big lead. Logano came down pit road under the green flag and was able to cycle back into the lead once the pitting cycle was complete. Despite one caution early in the stage, the second stage ran green. Joey Logano was in the lead for all of it, and he went on to win the second stage.
A Clutch Restart Earns Martin Truex Jr his First-Ever Phoenix Win
Joey Logano jumped back out front to kick off the final stage. However, Martin Truex Jr made an early pass on Logano. Truex Jr. took over the field as the race moved into a long green-flag run. Teams began pitting and Truex Jr. cycled back into the lead with 60 laps remaining in the race.
With 50 laps remaining, a caution came out due to debris. Many lead lap cars came down pit road once again, and Bubba Wallace stayed out to take the lead. Wallace did not have a great restart as Brad Keselowski moved ahead on the high side.
Another caution flag came out with 30 laps remaining as Kyle Busch’s car spun around on the front stretch. Once more, all lead lap cars come down pit road for one final tire change.
Joey Logano won the race off pit road with a chance to win the race. Logano restarted on the bottom and spun his tires on the restart. Martin Truex Jr was on the high side making his way into the lead. Truex Jr. closed out the final 20 laps with no pressure from Logano. A clutch restart earns Martin Truex Jr. his first-ever Phoenix win.
Many races at Phoenix Raceway often have a late caution with teams making a decision to come down pit road. It is always a tough call to make with limited laps remaining. Martin Truex Jr. lost some time on pit road but was able to get it back racing Logano hard at the end. With Logano spinning his tires on the final restart, Martin Truex Jr was able to make an easy pass, and seal the win.