Martin Truex Jr. has said since the start of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs that he didn’t feel any additional pressure as the championship favorite, and he proved that Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Truex fended off late pressure from fellow championship contender Kyle Busch to win Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 and clinch his first Cup title.
The Furniture Row Racing driver, knowing the championship four weren’t eligible for stage points, opted to not try to dominate all three segments of the 267-lap event. Instead, Truex let the race come to him, setting himself up, such that he was in a position to fight for the lead after the sun had set on Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“We just never gave up all day long,” Truex told NBC Sports. “We didn’t have the best car. I don’t know how we won that thing. Never give up. Dig Deep.”
It took 20 laps of error-free driving for Truex to take the checkered, as Kyle Busch quickly closed the gap to the No. 78 after he passed Kevin Harvick for second place.
Harvick ultimately would fall short of a top-three finish, with Kyle Larson passing him in the closing laps, relegating the Stewart-Haas Racing driver to fourth.
Larson, who started the 2017 season strong, will hope to carry momentum from Homestead into 2018. The No. 42 dominated the beginning of the race and took victory in stages one and two.
Chase Elliott crossed the finish line 2.674 seconds in the rears of Harvick to round out the top five.
Brad Keselowski was the lowest finisher of the championship four, coming home seventh after an early gamble didn’t pay off.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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