CP MOTORSPORTS - A MEMORABLE MEMORIAL DAY FOR TRUEX JR
Much like two years ago, Martin Truex Jr walked away from Charlotte Motor Speedway as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 winner, but unlike last time he had to put up a fight.
The long night started with William Byron, who won his first Cup pole, pulling away to a strong lead until the caution came out for Erik Jones losing a tire on lap twenty-three, ending his night. Kyle Busch got off pit road first and got a good start to get the lead while Harvick pulled to second right behind him. Matt DiBenedetto lost a tire in the same fashion as Jones on lap forty-eight, setting up pit stops and another restart. After losing the lead on pit road to Harvick, Kyle Busch received a big push from Byron to get the lead on the restart with Harvick taking the lead back after some near contact between the two. Martin Truex Jr. took advantage of the battle ahead of him to get to the lead and pull away until another tire issue brings out a caution, this time for Truex himself in the same way as the previous two.
Daniel Hemric stayed out and inherited the lead with twenty-two to go in the first stage until Brad Keselowski on four fresh tires fought through the crowd to get to the lead three laps later. Ricky Stenhouse Jr brought out the caution after a few laps after getting loose in front of Kyle Busch and getting spun. One lap into the restart, Daniel Hemric brought out a caution after trying to pull up in front of Clint Bowyer and getting slammed into the wall, leaving less than seven laps until the finish of the first stage. Keselowski went on to win the first stage after a good restart and a late charge from Kyle Busch.
Keselowski and the top four stayed out to begin the second stage with Denny Hamlin taking the lead after a bump from Harvick. The first few laps were calm after some close calls from Landon Cassill smoking and Chris Buescher scraping the wall which led to an eventual tire failure and bringing out the sixth caution of the night. Chase Elliott and five others stayed out as Ryan Blaney took the lead on the restart with a risky three-wide pass. Blaney would not hold the lead long as Keselowski would take the lead back a lap later. Another close call between Corey Lajoie, Bubba Wallace, and Michael McDowell made the two come down pit road and effectively ruining a good start to the night for both. The eighth caution of the night was for a fourth tire issue from the Joe Gibbs Racing camp, this time from the fourth place Denny Hamlin with forty to go in the stage. Byron won the race out of the pits but lost the lead on the restart after a short battle with Keselowski. Keselowski was breezing to an easy stage win until another tire went down, this time for Ryan Preece with 11 to go. William Byron would stay out and take the lead on the restart with seven to go and lose it a lap later to his teammate, Alex Bowman. Two to go in the second stage and after taking four tires, Keselowski shoots by Bowman to sweep the first two stages.
After a brief red flag for a moment of silence in remembrance of fallen veterans, Kyle Busch would take the lead for the third stage after not pitting. Busch would go on to pull away until Truex would spin out Bayley Currey, causing Currey to slam into the inside wall and bring out another caution. Truex would get the lead after the convenient caution and go on to win the third stage leading on to the fourth and final stage.
Chase Elliott would be the first car off pit road much to the delight of the fans roaring in the stands. After some side by side racing with Truex, Elliott would take the lead right as Kurt Busch would get loose under Blaney and spin out, smacking the side of his brother, Kyle and nearly getting run into by Harvick. Elliott would pull ahead of Truex after a push from Larson who would then get loose under Bowyer and collected Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, and Ryan Preece. Elliott would clear Truex for a third time for the lead, as Truex would start to drop due to a little tire rub. As the tire rub worked itself out, Truex would gain back up on Elliott and pass him with less than sixty to go. Forty laps to go and Denny Hamlin loses a tire during green flag stops, bringing out the fifteenth caution and setting up a thirty-five lap dash for the finish.
Truex would get out ahead and had to deal with a hard-charging Penske duo of Logano and Blaney. With ten laps to go Keselowski had a tire go done giving all the teams a difficult decision on what to do with pitstops. David Ragan would stay out while Ryan Newman would only take two tires, leaving Truex in third with only five to go. After Busch tried to go three-wide, Truex would get to the lead after a big push from Logano and go on to win his third race of the season.