Truex's team use tricky strategy to win at Sonoma
A clever pit call helped Martin Truex Jr. to his third victory of the NASCAR season, winning the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday.
NASCAR races are as often won with great pit strategy as they are speed and driving ability.
And no-one played the strategy game better at Sonoma Raceway than crew chief Cole Pearn and the number 78 Furniture Row Racing team.
Pearn's clever pit call midway through stage three helped Truex to his third victory of the season. The defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion has 18 career victories.
Just before the midway point of stage three, the crew got ready for a pit stop, and Pearn told Truex to "Pit now, pit now." But after leader Kevin Harvick pitted, Truex stayed out on the track.
Harvick's crew chief, Rodney Childers, radioed his driver: "Basically the 78 faked us out and decided to run seven or eight more laps. Kinda screwed us a little bit."
"That's all Cole. That's all him," Truex told FS1. "That was amazing. I tell him all the time, win, lose or draw, we do it together."
Truex eventually gave up the lead to pit on lap 81 of 110. When he returned to the track, he had eight fewer laps on his tyres than Harvick and quickly began reeling in the Stewart-Haas Racing driver.
Truex caught Harvick on lap 91 and sailed into the lead, with victory in sight.
Harvick and team-mate Clint Bowyer, running in third, pitted on lap 93, hoping for a late caution that would bunch the field and negate Truex's lead on the road course.
But the race stayed green to the end, and Truex claimed the chequered flag. Harvick and Bowyer finished second and third respectively, followed by Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch.