Parks Pit Report: I Love New York 355 at the Glen

The best driver this season has found another way to win in 2017.

Fuel mileage races on an oval track are easy to either hate or love because often it’s clear how a driver is able to conserve fuel.  There’s the letting off the gas early and coasting, meaning less brake use and easier on the throttle.

Some teams will push in the clutch, which then caused the engine to shut off and the car coast until the clutch was released to start the car again.

Under caution conditions teams shut the car off completely, and stay off the high banking.  Although this sounds odd, the reason is because the fuel pickup for the engine is in the right side of the trunk, and at high speed the g-forces in the corners force the fuel to the right so that the fuel pump can capture every last drop.  But under caution, that can’t happen, so drivers maneuver onto the apron of the track and coast.

All this is great, but when it comes to saving fuel at a road course, it’s not as easy as just shutting off the car and coasting.

Road courses mean elevation changes, gear shifts, and turning both left and right.  This means the usual way of saving fuel is absolutely impossible.  However, Martin Truex Jr. somehow found a way to save fuel to get his first win at Watkins Glen.

How?

Simple, he was asked to do something he never experienced…let others pass in order to win.  That sounds odd, but what he did was slow his lap times down sometimes by about four seconds from where they would normally be.  Four seconds may not seem like much, but at a track where the transmission is going through the gears every lap, and the brakes get a workout every corner, it is enormous.  In doing so, for a while he had to yield the lead, but was assured it was for the greater good.

It worked out extremely well in the end.  Truex adds another win to his total this season, and can say he won on both road courses NASCAR runs on.

Well, he can at least say that till January, because in 2018, there’s a third road race on the list in Charlotte.

STAGE 1 WINNER:  Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER:  Daniel Suarez

RESULTS:  1-Truex Jr.  2-Kenseth  3-Suarez  4-Hamlin  5-Bowyer  6-Kurt Busch  7-Kyle Busch  8-Blaney  9-Allmendinger  10-Jones

NOTABLE FINISHES:  15-Keselowski  16-Kahne  17-Harvick  20-Stenhouse Jr.  23-Larson  24-Logano  25-Newman  26-Dillon  29-Johnson  37-Earnhardt Jr.

CAUTIONS:  3 for 8 laps.  22-24 (Stage 1 Conclusion); 42-44 (Stage 2 Conclusion); 53-54 (Debris from #34-BS).

LEAD CHANGES:  9 among 6 drivers.  Kyle Busch 1-21; C. Elliott 22-30; D. Suarez # 31-44; M. Truex Jr. 45-52; R. Blaney 53; B. Keselowski 54-63; M. Truex Jr. 64-76; B. Keselowski 77-86; R. Blaney 87; M. Truex Jr. 88-90.

TIME OF RACE:  2 Hrs, 7 Mins, 3 Secs.

AVERAGE SPEED:  104.132 MPH

MARGIN OF VICTORY:  0.414 Seconds

POINT STANDINGS (Points/Behind Leader [Playoff Points]):  1. Truex Jr, 881 [34]; 2. Kyle Busch, -116 [14]; 3. Larson, -122 [13]; 4. Harvick, -135 [8]; 5. Hamlin, -194 [7]; 6. Keselowski, -200 [13]; 7. Elliott, -223 [2]; 8. McMurray, -238; 9. Kenseth, -244 [2]; 10. Bowyer, -272 [1]; 11. Johnson, -307 [16]; 12. Blaney, -316 [8]; 13. Logano, -339 [1]*; 14. Kurt Busch, -353 [5]; 15. Suarez, -373 [1]; 16. Newman, -378 [5]; 17. Stenhouse Jr, -395 [10]; 19. Kahne, -444 [5]; 21. Dillon, -475 [5].

*Win from Richmond is encumbered.  Will not count towards an automatic birth in the NASCAR Playoffs.

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