The last two times the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series has raced on a Monday at Dover it ended with the same result: Martin Truex Jr. in victory lane.
The 2017 Cup Series champion dominated the second half of the Gander RV 400 for his second win of the season. Truex also went to victory lane at the one-mile concrete oval on a Monday back in 2007, which was his first career win in the series. Truex now has three Dover wins, having also picked up a victory in 2016.
“Man, it feels incredible,” Truex said of his 21st career win. “So thankful for this team, and what a race car we had today. Thanks to everybody back at the shop … everybody who supports us and makes this deal happen. We got one hell of a team.
“We came here with a new setup this time, because we had kind of an older setup that we won with in 2016. We’ve been good, but not good enough. And hats off to Cole [Pearn, crew chief], James [Small, engineer] and all those guys. Everybody at TRD back in California, Costa Mes,a for some awesome engines, awesome horsepower.”
Truex took control of the race when he won Stage 2. After making a last lap pass on Bowman, the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota found track position was to its benefit, only losing the lead during the final round of pit stops under green flag conditions with less than 80 laps to go.
He cycled back to the top spot with 53 laps to go, overtaking Daniel Suarez who had stretched his fuel run. With more than 3.0s on Bowman when the field sorted itself out, Truex went unchallenged to the checkered flag and had an eventual victory margin of over 9.0s.
Both Truex and Bowman started the day near the rear of the field after their cars failed pre-race inspection twice. Truex ultimately led 132 laps, with Bowman leading 16.
Completing the top five behind Truex and Bowman were Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, and Chase Elliott. Elliott started from the pole and was dominant early in the day. He led a race-high 146 laps, but said his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet started to go away right around the time Truex was growing stronger.
Completing the rest of the top 10 were Erik Jones, Stage 1 winner Joey Logano, William Byron, Clint Bowyer, and Kyle Busch. Daniel Suarez finished 11th and Brad Keselowski 12th as the final two cars on the lead lap.
There were 15 lead changes among 11 drivers and six caution flags in the 400-lap race.