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Martin Truex Jr. dominates at Darlington to 3rd win of year

Martin Truex Jr. drives into Turn 1 during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Darlington...
Martin Truex Jr. drives into Turn 1 during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Darlington Raceway, Sunday, May 9, 2021, in Darlington, S.C.(AP Photo/Terry Renna)
Published: May. 9, 2021 at 7:26 PM EDT
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DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) - Martin Truex Jr. powered his way around Darlington Raceway, sweeping both stages and leading the final 105 laps Sunday.

Kyle Larson cut into Truex’s often large lead over the final 30 laps, coming as close as two car-lengths down the stretch. But the Joe Gibbs Racing driver held him off for his third victory of the season.

“Hopefully, we can keep this rolling,” Truex said.

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The victory gave Truex some payback at Darlington from the last time here last September, when he led 196 laps, yet finished 22nd after tangling for the lead late with Chase Elliott.

This time, Truex made sure he no issues by running out front — often holding a 10-second lead on the field — to win for the second time at the track “Too Tough To Tame.”

Truex led 248 of the 293 laps for his 30th career victory in NASCAR’s top series. He’s the only driver with multiple wins over the year’s first 12 races.

He took control midway through the first of three stages, moving in front on a restart and settling in for a long ride up front. Truex led the final 21 laps to take the first stage, then the last 36 as he collected the second stage win by some 14 seconds over his JGR teammate Kyle Busch.

Truex broke out when racing resumed for the final stage and easily managed a couple of rounds of green-flag pits stops to stay ahead.

Larson was second with Truex’s teammate, Kyle Busch, third. William Byron was fourth and Denny Hamlin, who came in as the NASCAR points’ leader, was fifth.

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