Martin Truex Jr. ended a 218-race winless streak with an easy victory Sunday on the road course at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
It was only the second victory 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 at Sonoma 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 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.
Montoya got little sympathy from Kyle Busch, who was spun by Montoya early in the race when he drove too deep into a corner and wheel-hopped over a curb.
“Awww. My heart melts for @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. Carl Edwards was third, followed by Kurt Busch, who climbed back from a pair of speeding penalties.