Truex holds off Busch to defend Sonoma title

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Ryan Blaney finished in third

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(AP) – Martin Truex Jr. has won the NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway for the second straight year, comfortably holding off teammate Kyle Busch for his fourth victory of the season.  

Truex won for the fourth time in the last eight points-paying races, with the late-blooming 38-year-old driver earning his 23rd career victory. Truex and Jeff Gordon are the only drivers in NASCAR history to win at Sonoma in consecutive years.  

The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota teammates finished 1-2 for the seventh time in their careers.  

Ryan Blaney was third, with Matt DiBenedetto fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth.  

Truex and Busch were the class of the final stage in a caution-free race on the hilly road course in wine country. The drivers had little trouble navigating “The Carousel,” the extra turns inserted into the NASCAR layout for the first time since 1997.  

Busch didn’t follow Truex into the pits early in the final stage. When Busch finally pitted, Truex reclaimed the lead with 23 laps to go, opening up an 8-second advantage, and then held off a strong push by Busch to win by 1.861 seconds.  

Series points leader Joey Logano had battery problems and had to pit with 15 laps to go. He finished 23rd.  

Chase Elliott started fourth and ran near the front for much of the day before his engine apparently blew early in the final stage.

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