Martin Truex Jr. led the most laps (25) but his potential run for a victory came to a screeching halt late in the race when his engine suffered a power failure at the Sonoma road course
The power issue knocked Truex out of Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Lap 86 of 110 with a finishing position of 37th.
Erik Jones, competing in his first Cup road race, finished 25th in the Furniture Row Racing’s No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota.
Before Truex started to experience the power issue with his Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota, he was leading Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race when he came in for his final pit stop on Lap 70. However, he lost his lead over Kevin Harvick due to a pit road issue. Harvick went on to win the race by more than eight seconds.
According to Truex, the power issue was building even though he was still staying close to the leader.
“For about 20 laps, I was on seven cylinders,” said Truex. “After we made that last pit stop when we lost the lead to Harvick, I lost a cylinder as soon as I left pit road. I was surprised we were able to keep up with him as well as we could on seven, but just shows how strong our car was. Just wasn’t meant to be today.”
Truex started the race from the third position and was immediately strong on the 11-turn, 1.99-mile road course. He won the first stage, raising his season stage wins to 11 for the season. The next closest competitor in stage wins is at four.
“It’s very disappointing, I mean, sitting there running second on seven cylinders and staying right with the leader,” noted Truex, who led three different times before taking an early exit. “I mean this Toyota was so good today. Everyone at Furniture Row Racing did an awesome job with it. Everybody back in Denver, thank you for just crazy fast cars. TRD (Toyota Racing Development) stuff has been really good for the past year and a half. You know sometimes these things happen, so appreciate all their effort out there at TRD. Makes good power. It’s just this one wasn’t ready to go the whole distance today.”
Truex remained second in driver points, 13 markers behind Kyle Larson.
Jones kept his nose clean throughout the 110-lap race which was the main priority for the rookie driver. After starting 30th he was 34th at the end of Stage 1 and back to 30th after Stage 2. He flat-spotted his tires late in the race, forcing a pit stop. He still came home with a respectable finish for his first time ever at the Sonoma track.
“It was a long day,” said Jones, who remained 16th in driver points. “You know, learning all day and coming home with a top 25 is all we really wanted to do. Not really sure how to get around there, so got to go back and look - figure out how to be faster, be better for next time and hopefully come back with a little more speed.”