The winner of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race accomplished a pair of firsts.
Martin Truex Jr. overcame an early-race brush with the wall and took the lead on the final restart with 25 laps remaining to earn his first victory of 2021 and first in 31 career starts at Phoenix Raceway.
Truex’s No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota ultimately held off Joey Logano’s No. 22 Penske Racing Ford by a convincing 1.698 seconds for the win in the Instacart 500. The 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion took the race lead from the outside on a bold restart move and pulled away in the closing laps of a spirited race that featured 22 lead changes.
Below is more about Truex’s win, plus the complete results of Sunday’s race.
Who won the NASCAR race yesterday?
Martin Truex Jr. became the fifth different winner in as many NASCAR Cup Series races this season, joining Michael McDowell, Christopher Bell, William Byron and Kyle Larson. Their wins have earned them spots in the playoffs.
“I wish it was November and I was in the Final Four,” Truex said, referring to the season championship finale at Phoenix later in the year.
Logano led a race-best 143 of the 312 laps and won Stage 2, his first stage win of the year. His Penske Racing teammate Ryan Blaney won Stage 1 (also his first stage victory of 2021) and all three Penske Racing cars finished in the top 10. In all, the Penske trio of Logano, Blaney and Brad Keselowski combined to lead 197 laps — 63 percent of the day.
NASCAR results from Phoenix
Truex’s JGR teammate Denny Hamlin was third, followed by Keselowski. Last November’s Phoenix winner, Chase Elliott, was fifth.
Kevin Harvick, a nine-time Phoenix winner, was sixth, his fourth top-10 finish in the season’s opening five races. Larson, last week’s Las Vegas winner, was seventh and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Byron was eighth, followed by Bell and Blaney to round out the top 10.
Hamlin, Keselowski and Logano — all still looking for their first 2021 wins — are 1-2-3 in the championship standings, with Hamlin holding a 39-point edge over Keselowski as the series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for next weekend’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (3 p.m. ET Sunday; Fox, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
NASCAR at Phoenix results
Holly Cain writes for the NASCAR Wire Service.
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