The Times West Virginian

Sports

June 24, 2013

Martin Truex Jr. snaps 218-race losing streak

SONOMA, Calif. — Martin Truex Jr. snapped a 218-race winless streak with an easy victory Sunday on the road course at Sonoma Raceway.

It was just the second win of Truex’s career, first since Dover in 2007. It put Michael Waltrip Racing in Victory Lane for the second year in a row after Clint Bowyer won here last season.

Truex worked his way to the front and used strategy to stay with the leaders. He then pulled away after the final restart and built a healthy lead of more than six seconds over Juan Pablo Montoya, who was running second until he ran out of gas on the final lap.  

“I’m ecstatic. But I’m not exactly sure how that happened,” said Truex, who admitted he wasn’t pleased with his car following Friday’s practices. “The car was just phenomenal all day long and once I was near the front and didn’t have to run the car 110 percent, it just would stay with me on the long runs and I was able to drive away from everyone.”

Montoya, who came into the weekend knowing if he didn’t win he would at least have a huge points day, dropped all the way to 34th after having to coast to the finish. He took a shortcut to skip the final turn, drifted to the finish line and parked. He then walked back to the garage, annoyed his Chip Ganassi Racing team never told him to save fuel.

“We’ve got tools to prevent things like that from happening,” Montoya said.

“I don’t know if all the fuel didn’t go,” Montoya said. “This is what we’ve been doing all year. We all work together and we’re all trying to do the best we can. Half the reason we’re 20-something in points — we’re not 20-something in points because we’re not running fast. We’re 20-something in points because we had a lot of mechanical problems and days like this we throw them away.”

Crew chief Chris Heroy was perplexed about the shortage.

“We don’t know what happened — we were on the same strategy as (Truex),” Heroy said through a team spokeswoman. “We’re going to go back to the shop and figure it out.”

Montoya got little sympathy from Kyle Busch, who was spun by Montoya early in the race when Montoya drove too deep into a corner and wheel-hopped over a curb.

“Awww. My heart melts for (at)jpmontoya who ran out of gas,” Busch tweeted moments after the race.  

Jeff Gordon finished second a week after he was wrecked six laps into the race at Michigan, but felt like he might have had a chance to win if he had not already committed to pit seconds before a caution came out early in the race.

“I mean, I really do think we had a shot winning this race. We had a tremendous car,” Gordon said. “I knew we were screwed. There was nothing I could do; I was hard on the brakes, fully committed. I couldn’t turn away from it, I just knew we had to eat it and go on, and that’s what we did.”

Carl Edwards was third, followed by Kurt Busch, who climbed back from a pair of speeding penalties.

“Yeah, we were fast, even on pit road. Twice,” Busch laughed. “I messed-up, flat-out. I didn’t hit my tachometer right and I was speeding both times. It was one of those where I’m like, how does that happen? I just put myself in a position that was poor trying to get too much on pit road.”

Bowyer wound up fifth in a strong day for the MWR Toyotas.  

Kasey Kahne was sixth and followed by Marcos Ambrose, who was extremely disappointed he didn’t win a race in which he was heavily favored.

“It’s OK. We got a top-10 out of it,” Ambrose said. “I wanted to win. Of course I wanted to win, but that’s the way it goes.”

Greg Biffle was eighth and followed by Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick in the top 10.

The race got off to an inauspicious start before it even began with a pit road accident, a mechanical issue for Jacques Villeneuve and an oil line failure for Bobby Labonte.

The accident occurred as the cars were headed onto the track and David Reutimann stopped his car on pit road. Alex Kennedy stopped behind Reutimann, and Paulie Harraka slammed into the back of Kennedy.

The damage wasn’t significant enough to prevent Harraka from making his Sprint Cup Series debut. But it was a short-lived race for the first driver to advance from NASCAR’s diversity program into a Cup race — Harraka spun and crashed his car six laps later.

Meanwhile, a parts failure caused Labonte to dump oil all over pit road before the race and he was forced to take his car to the garage for a quick repair. Labonte made it onto the track for the green flag, but his engine failed on the first lap.

“It blew up, dude,” Labonte said on his radio. “Something in the bottom engine because it had no oil pressure.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • WVU men’s basketball non-conference schedule announced

    West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck has announced the 2014-15 men’s basketball non-conference schedule.

    July 31, 2014

  • Post 17 #18-Post 1 #2  run copy.jpg Wheeling holds off Post 17 rally in state tournament opener: PHOTOS

    Wheeling Post 1 pitcher Mo Felt nearly went the distance in a 7-6 victory over Fairmont Post 17 on Tuesday afternoon at the West Virginia American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Hawley Field.
    Felt struck out seven in 8.1 innings of work in the team’s first-round victory over Fairmont.

    July 31, 2014 9 Photos

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
    “In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
    Reading that turned on a light.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step today

    Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
    Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”

    July 31, 2014

  • Pirates’ gaffe on bases proves costly

    Clint Hurdle says he and a pal often marvel over how there’s always something new to see at a baseball game.
    Too bad for Hurdle, what we watched Wednesday wrecked the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 7-5 loss.
    A timely, heads-up glance by reliever Jean Machi helped San Francisco take advantage of a gaffe on the bases by Pittsburgh, and the Giants tagged out of two runners who wandered away on the same play grab momentum and end a six-game losing streak.

    July 31, 2014

  • Speedy Shazier making quick impression

    Ryan Shazier grew up the football equivalent of a Rorschach test.
    Some coaches looked at Shazier’s 6-foot-1 frame with plenty of room to grow and saw a defensive end. Others focused on his blazing speed and saw a safety.
    Not Shazier.

    July 31, 2014

  • Wheeling holds off Post 17 rally in state tourney opener

    Wheeling Post 1 pitcher Mo Felt nearly went the distance in a 7-6 victory over Fairmont Post 17 on Tuesday afternoon at the West Virginia American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Hawley Field.

    July 30, 2014

  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.
    The Pete Dye course, ranked No. 45 on Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Courses and No. 9 on Golfweek’s ranking of Best Modern Courses, will host 160 of the best junior golfers from 40 states during the 72-hole stroke play event.

    July 30, 2014

  • Scott sees swift title contention for Lakers

    Byron Scott was a key component of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Showtime teams, a smooth shooting guard with sizzling competitive fire. He believes his purple-and-gold championship pedigree makes him the ideal coach to return the struggling 16-time champions to NBA contention.
    “This organization is all about championships, period,” Scott said Tuesday at his introductory news conference. “We don’t look at Western Conference finals, Western Conference championships. We look at (NBA) championships. And we know we have some work ahead of us, but I’m excited. ... I love challenges anyway, so this is going to be fun.”

    July 30, 2014

  • Opinion: People running NCAA may not be bumbling idiots

    Two down, one big one to go.
    And with it a growing realization that maybe the people running the NCAA aren’t the bumbling idiots everyone has been making them out to be.
    The NCAA’s agreement Tuesday to create a $70 million fund to diagnose concussions and brain injuries does more than just give some former and current athletes a bit of peace of mind — if no real money. It also extricates the organization from another serious threat to its existence, one that could have potentially bankrupted it if everyone who ever suffered a concussion playing college sports were somehow able to cash in.

    July 30, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
Auto Racing Breaking News
Auto Racing Standings