Not rains nor starting in the back halted Martin Truex, Jr. as he dominated the Gander RV 400 at the Dover International Raceway.

The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion was dealt a crippling blow on Sunday morning when he was relegated to the rear of the field because his No. 19 Sirius XM Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing failed inspection twice.

Nonetheless, Truex led 132 laps and dominated the final 220-lap stage to take his second win at the 1.0-mile oval. He claimed his first series win at the Monster Mile in 2007, also on a Monday.

"Man, it feels incredible," he said. "I'm so thankful for this team. What a race car we had today," Truex said after the race. "We have one hell of a team. We came here with a new set-up this time because we kind of had an older set-up than had worked good for several years but it wasn't good enough."

Truex slithered his way through traffic in Stage 1 and became a contender for the win in Stage 2. Brad Keselowski inherited the lead when his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano, who claimed the victory in Stage 1, pitted with most of the field.

Keselowski led the opening 52 laps of the stage before pitting and lost the lead to polesitter Chase Elliott on the exchange.

Trailing Keselowski in third was Elliott's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman followed by Kevin Harvick and Truex, Jr.

Bowman eventually passed Keselowski and set his sights on hunting down his teammate. He took the lead on Lap 224 with Harvick and Truex close behind.

The battle raged on as the leader hit lapped traffic and Truex overtook Harvick with three to go in the stage. Bowman initially kept Truex at bay but pushed high in Turn 1 of the final lap which allowed Truex to scoot by and claim the stage win.

Truex emerged as the leader during the stage break pitstop with Bowman, Harvick, Elliott and Keselowski in tow.

He broke away on the Lap 250 restart and led a truncated stint that saw two of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates have issues. Kyle Busch brushed the wall on Lap 252 and Denny Hamlin spun in Turn 2 on Lap 265 after cutting a tire.

Truex kept the field at bay on the subsequent restart and was uncatchable the next 50 laps. The final round of green-flag stops began on Lap 320 with Kyle Larson the first taker. Truex followed suit shortly after that as did Harvick.

Hendrick teammates Elliott and Jimmie Johnson each led a few laps before pitting before surrendering it to Daniel Suarez. Suarez led 21 circuits before making his final stop of the day on Lap 347.

That moved Truex back to the lead with 3.5 seconds in the bank ahead of Bowman, Larson and Harvick. Truex exponentially increased his lead over the next 40 laps and with ten to go, he was an astonishing eight seconds ahead of Bowman.

The final ten laps were flawless and Truex took the checkered flag uncontested.

Bowman finished runner-up for the second straight week while fellow Chevrolet driver Kyle Larson bagged his best finish of the season to date in third.

Harvick came home fourth while Chase Elliott finished fifth after leading the most laps at 145.

Erik Jones claimed his fourth top ten of the year in sixth as Joey Logano finished seventh. William Byron snagged his second top ten of the year by finishing eighth and rounding out the top ten were Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch.

 

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