Martin Truex Jr., driving the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, won the Axalta ‘We Paint Winners’ 400 at Pocono Raceway Sunday afternoon. Truex Jr. once again led in dominating fashion leading 97 of the scheduled 160 laps ending a 69-race winless streak going back to Sonoma Raceway in June of 2013.
Truex Jr. has 3 career victories in 347 NASCAR Sprint Cup series races, and in the last four races, Kansas, Charlotte and Dover, including today’s race Truex Jr. has led 450 out of the 1232 laps completed. He has posted top-10 finishes in 12 of the 13 races for the 2015 season and until today failed to close the deal in what has been his best season ever.
“It feels unbelievable,” Truex Jr. said in victory lane. “I knew we were going to get one. Everyone kept asking when are you going to win when are you going to win what’s going on. I knew we were going to win. I knew we had the team and what it took, just had to get things to play out the way we needed them too. I feel that I’m on Cloud Nine right now.
Truex Jr.’s grandmother passed away earlier this week, and during the last 18 months his longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex, who has been battling ovarian cancer, was on hand to see his victory from atop the pit box and greeted him in victory lane with a hug.
“The last year and a half have been pretty tough, but this feels damn good,” Truex Jr. said.
Cole Pearn, crew chief for the #78 Chevrolet, got his first career win as a Cup crew chief and as his walk along the pit road victory lane; he received congratulations from drivers, crew chiefs and team owners alike. This is Furniture Row Racing’s second victory in 285 races since the Denver-based team began racing in 2005. Truex Jr. became the 10th different winner for the 2015 season, guaranteeing himself a spot in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, providing he qualifies and starts the remaining races and remains in the top-30 in the points.
Series point leader and 2014 series champion Kevin Harvick, passed Jimmie Johnson for second and chased down Truex Jr., who was 2.4 seconds ahead, during the final 13 laps and would gain a little by little but would finish second as the race ended 1.35 second behind the leader. This is Harvick’s 10th top-two finish in 14 races this season.
“After all he (Truex Jr.) and Sherry have gone through, if you’re going to lose to somebody today, (Truex Jr.) is a great person to lose to,” said Harvick after climbing out of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet.
Johnson finished third, followed by Joey Logano and Kurt Busch to complete the top-5. Sixth through tenth are as follows: Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin.
Next weekend the Sprint Cup series will go to Michigan International Speedway for the Quicken Loans 400, with qualifying for the race on Friday, June 12 at 11:04 p.m. ET with coverage on Fox Sports 2. The race will be televised on Fox Sports 1 at 1 p.m. ET.