Martin Truex Jr. Pulls Out Another Monday Win at Dover

Dover Motor Speedway, Dover, DE — May 1, 2023

After a weekend of inclement weather, the NASCAR Cup Series is racing on Monday in the Wurth 400 from Dover Motor Speedway. The Cup drivers did get in a short practice session on Saturday, but all other activities were rained out, and the lineup was set according to the NASCAR Rule Book matrix.

Dover Motor Speedway under the weather / NASCAR Photo

Dover Motor Speedway is a one-mile concrete paved oval located in Dover, Delaware. Dover Motor Speedway, originally known as Dover Downs International Speedway, has hosted 104 NASCAR Cup Series races dating back to the inaugural event on July 6, 1969.

The first Dover Cup Series race was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty driving a Petty Enterprises Ford (115.772 mph, 02:35:28). Petty actually won the first two Cup events at the track (1969, 1970).

Of the 39 different NASCAR Cup Series winners at Dover Motor Speedway, eight are active this weekend.

Active Dover Race Winners Wins Seasons
Kevin Harvick 3 2020, 2018, 2015
Martin Truex Jr 3 2019. 2016, 2007
Kyle Busch 3 2017, 2010, 2008
Chase Elliott 2 2022, 2018
Alex Bowman 1 2021
Denny Hamlin 1 2020
Kyle Larson 1 2019
Brad Keselowski 1 2012

Note: Two of Martin Truex Jr.’s three victories at the track have come in races run on Monday. Also, Martin’s brother Ryan Truex won the Xfinity race at Dover on Saturday.

In the last 18 NASCAR Cup Series races at Dover Motor Speedway (2013-2021), only three teams have visited Victory Lane – Hendrick Motorsports (nine wins during that time), Joe Gibbs Racing (five wins), and Stewart-Haas Racing (four wins).

Another Off-Track Driver Injury

Hendrick Motorsports announced Alex Bowman will be out for 3-4 weeks due to injury. Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48, will not compete in this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Dover Motor Speedway due to a fractured vertebra.

Bowman, who leads the Cup Series with the best average finish through 10 points-paying races in 2023, suffered the compression fracture in an accident Tuesday evening while competing in a sprint car event at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa. The 30-year-old driver was treated locally and flew to Charlotte, North Carolina, for further evaluation.

It is interesting to note that the sprint car Bowman collided with, driven by Conner Morrell, featured the same sponsor, Ally, as Bowman’s Cup car.

Josh Berry, 32, will fill in during Bowman’s recovery. Earlier this season, he was the substitute for Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott in five Cup events, with a best finish of second on April 2 at Richmond Raceway. The Hendersonville, Tennessee, native competes full-time for Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, where he has five career wins.

Today’s Race

Chase Elliott is the defending champion of the race, and a victory today would be huge for the driver from Dawsonville, Georgia. Mired back in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings after being sidelined five races earlier this season due to a broken leg. Elliott received a waiver from NASCAR, allowing him to be eligible for the playoffs despite not running every event during the season.

Kyle Busch starts on the pole with his former teammate, Christopher Bell, sitting beside him. Stages are set for 120/130/150 laps for 400 trips around the “Monster Mile.”

With the rain washing all the rubber off the track, NASCAR has scheduled a competition caution for after 20 laps. This will allow crews to check tire wear on the green racetrack.

Stage One

Kyle Busch(8) led every lap from the start of the race to the competition caution. However, Busch was flagged for speeding on pit road and will have to restart at the rear of the field. Brad Keselowski(6) and William Byron(24) led the field to green. Unfortunately, a lap later, the race was back under caution as Noah Gragson(42) spun off turn two and hit the backstretch outer wall.

With track cleanup complete, the field went back to racing. For a lap! Out of turn four, Daniel Suarez(99) got loose, spun, and bounced off both the inside and outside walls. Traffic behind him began to back up, and Kyle Busch ran into the rear of Ty Dillon(77), who also hit both walls. Both Suarez and Dillon were forced to retire their cars to the garage.

BJ McLeod(78) was also involved in the incident but only suffered minor damage to his race car. Noah Gragson had returned to the track after his accident, but he was unable to maintain minimum speed and was forced to retire his race car out of the race.

Busch had to pit for minor repairs to the front of his car and will, once again, restart at the rear of the field.

Out front, after the green flag was displayed, the race settled into turning laps without incidents. Byron led, and the remainder of the top five included Denny Hamlin(11), Ryan Blaney(12), Ross Chastain(1), and Keselowski.

On lap 80, as cars were working lapped traffic, Chastain hit the rear of the 15 car of Brennan Poole. The contact caused Poole to spin, and he climbed the banking of the track, hitting the wall in turn one. With nowhere to go, Kyle Larson(5), who was gaining in the leaders, slammed into Poole’s car, causing significant damage to both vehicles. The yellow flag waved again.

Larson’s crew performed repairs, and he was able to return to the track. But the damage proved to be too severe, he ultimately went behind the wall to the garage. His crew continued working on the car, and Larson did make it back onto the track 28 laps down.

Kyle Larson’s car getting some attention in the garage after an on-track incident / NASCAR Photo

During the caution, Busch did not pit and returned to the top spot. Chastain and Tyler Reddick(45) took just two tires and beat Byron off of the pit road. Drivers began to jockey for position as the laps wound down to the end of the Stage.

With 10 to go, the top five were Byron, Hamlin, Chastain, Keselowski, and Blaney. Running on badly worn tires, Busch quickly dropped to the rear of the field. He was lapped prior to the end of the Stage, and his teammate, Austin Dillon(3), also a lap down, beat him to the green and white checkered flag to earn the lucky dog and a pass back onto the lead lap.

Byron and Hamlin held their positions, but the remainder of the top ten shuffled before the Stage Points were awarded.

Stage One Results

1 24 William Byron 10
2 11 Denny Hamlin 9
3 12 Ryan Blaney* 8
4 6 Brad Keselowski* 7
5 1 Ross Chastain 6
6 17 Chris Buescher* 5
7 20 Christopher Bell 4
8 4 Kevin Harvick* 3
9 19 Martin Truex Jr. 2
10 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1

*Ford Mustang Drivers

Several teams had issues on pit road, including Hamlin, Truex, and Keselowski. Brad’s crew failed to secure one of the right-side tires. It bounced off the wall and came to rest in front of Keselowski’s car. He hit the tire when exiting the pit stall, and it careened safely behind the wall. Still, NASCAR penalized the team sending Keselowski to the rear of the field for the restart.

Stage Two

Off pit road, Byron led. Followed by Blaney, Chastain, Bell, and Kevin Harvick(4). Dover Motor Speedway honored Harvick, who is retiring at the end of 2032, by repainting the “Turn 4” placard on the outside wall of that corner as “Harvick 4.”

Photo Courtesy of @bobpockrass on Twitter

Byron, with clean air on the nose of his car, is dominating thus far. A stop for fuel and tires will be required sometime during the course of this Stage.

Green Flag pit stops began on lap 188 with Joey Lagono(22) and Bell entering for service. Byron gave up the lead to Chastain when he pitted on lap 194. Keselowski was the last of the leaders to pit, he stopped on lap 200.

After all pit stops were completed, Chastain was the new leader. Having wrestled the top spot away from Byron with a shorter elapsed time entering and exiting the pit road.

Once out front, it is hard for anyone to pass the leader. Positions are hard to come by on the tight oval. Chastain held on for the Stage Win, and only 12 cars remain on the lead lap at the end of Stage Two.

Stage Two Results

1 Ross Chastain 10
24 William Byron 9
12 Ryan Blaney* 8
19 Martin Truex Jr. 7
11 Denny Hamlin 6
54 Ty Gibbs 5
17 Chris Buescher* 4
45 Tyler Reddick 3
9 Chase Elliott 2
20 Christopher Bell 1

*Ford Mustang Drivers

The Final Stage

On the Stage ending pit stops, this time, Byron was faster than Chastain. The pair lined up on the front row with Byron in the preferred outside lane position. Side-by-side for a lap, Byron used the advantage to pull out and maintain the top spot.

Byron led for 31 laps adding to his race-leading total of 193 laps until his tires began to go away. Chastain returned to the top spot on lap 286, and Byron began to drift back in the field.

If teams elect to split the Final Stage into two segments, pit stops should commence with around 75 laps to go. Keselowski was the first of the lead lap cars to pit, and he entered at the 75 laps to go point. That triggered stops over the next few laps by all the leaders.

After cycling through pit stops, Truex came out in the lead. He was followed by Chastain, Blaney, Ty Gibbs(54), and Hamlin.

As the leaders worked through lapped traffic, Chastain closed to the bumper of Truex’s car with 43 laps to go. The race appears to be theirs to settle as every other contender is well back from the lead duo.

Truex covers every move by Chastain low and high. It has been 54 races since Truex posted a Cup series win. The interval between the two varies as the lappers come into play.

With 14 laps to go, Logano spun into the turn four wall, bringing out the caution flag and creating a dilemma for crew chiefs. Only eight cars remain on the lead lap, with 60 laps on their tires. Who will pit, and who will stay out? It will be a race-winning decision.

Everyone pits, but Truex only takes two tires, and Chastain takes four new Goodyears. Blaney, with two tires, comes out just behind Truex, and Bell follows suit to position himself in third just ahead of Chastain.

Truex chooses the outside lane, Blaney to the inside. Bell follows Truex, and Chastain follows Blaney. They restart with seven laps to go.

The Finish

Truex and Blaney go side-by-side for two laps while Chastain waits for either to slip. As Truex pulls away, Chastain gets around Blaney for second place. But, in doing so, Chastain sees the leader put some distance between them. It is enough for Truex to hold off the fresher tires without Chastain getting within two car lengths. At Dover, Mondays are for Martin!

Playoff Standings

Martin Truex Jr. becomes the eighth different winner in 2023, Ross Chastain takes over the points lead, and Chase Briscoe drops to the playoff bubble, 19 points ahead of Daniel Suarez.

1 Kyle Busch 306 In Win(2)
2 Kyle Larson 300 In Win(2)
3 William Byron 297 In Win(2)
4 Christopher Bell 367 In Win
5 Martin Truex Jr. 330 In Win
6 Tyler Reddick 319 In Win
7 Joey Logano* 274 In Win
8 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 270 In Win
9 Ross Chastain (Points Leader) 370 +139
10 Kevin Harvick* 332 +101
11 Ryan Blaney* 326 +95
12 Denny Hamlin 317 +86
13 Brad Keselowski* 303 +72
14 Chris Buescher* 277 +46
15 Alex Bowman 270 +39
16 Chase Briscoe* 250 +19
NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Cut Line
17 Daniel Suarez 231 -19
18 Ty Gibbs 228 -22
19 Austin Cindric 224 -26
20 Michael McDowell 217 -33
21 Bubba Wallace 216 -34
22 Corey LaJoie 208 -42
23 Todd Gilliland 201 -49
24 Erik Jones 186 -64
25 Aric Almirola 181 -69

*Ford Mustang Drivers

Results of the Wurth 400 from Dover Motor Speedway

1 19 Martin Truex Jr. 400
2 1 Ross Chastain 0.505 400
3 12 Ryan Blaney 1.343 400
4 24 William Byron 1.721 400
5 11 Denny Hamlin 2.182 400
6 20 Christopher Bell 3.020 400
7 45 Tyler Reddick 3.201 400
8 6 Brad Keselowski 3.797 400
9 17 Chris Buescher 4.173 400
10 48 Josh Berry 7.447 400
11 9 Chase Elliott 7.710 400
12 23 Bubba Wallace 13.489 400
13 54 Ty Gibbs -1 399
14 7 Corey LaJoie -1 399
15 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -1 399
16 43 Erik Jones -1 399
17 41 Ryan Preece -1 399
18 16 AJ Allmendinger -1 399
19 4 Kevin Harvick -1 399
20 21 Harrison Burton -2 398
21 8 Kyle Busch -3 397
22 34 Michael McDowell -3 397
23 31 Justin Haley -3 397
24 10 Aric Almirola -3 397
25 38 Todd Gilliland -4 396
26 2 Austin Cindric -4 396
27 3 Austin Dillon -5 395
28 51 JJ Yeley -7 393
29 78 BJ McLeod -19 381
30 14 Chase Briscoe -22 378
31 22 Joey Logano -25 375
32 5 Kyle Larson -41 359
33 15 Brennan Poole -321 79
34 42 Noah Gragson -357 43
35 99 Daniel Suarez -365 35
36 77 Ty Dillon -366 34