Truex, who was penalised by NASCAR for jumping the start of the race and ended up last in the running order, grabbed control of the race in the final stage and never looked back.
Truex emerged as the leader following a round of green flag pitstops on Lap 350 of 400 at Richmond Raceway and held off his Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Denny Hamlin by 1.417 seconds to earn his fourth win of the 2021 season.
The win, the 31st of his career, sends Truex into the Round of 12 of the playoff regardless of his performance in next weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“It’s a big day. It’s an important day in our history,” Truex said of his victory coming on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. “I think all of us here – yeah, we’re proud to win, and this car is amazing and there’s so many people to thank.
“But what a day to win on. It reminds you of the honour and the privilege it is to get to come out here and do this. All these great fans that come out here, we couldn’t do any of these kind of things without the men and women that take care of us and all the first responders, police officers, firefighters, the military, you name it.”
Race winner Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry
Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images
Asked about the effect his penalty to start the race, Truex said, “That was frustrating; I’m not going to lie. But I knew we’d have a good enough car to overcome it. It felt pretty good the first couple laps.
“Just one of those things; you’ve got to put it out of your mind and you’ve got to go race, and we knew there was a lot on the line tonight. Very happy to get to do this and go to Bristol without any worries next week is always fun.”
Christopher Bell finished third to complete a 1-2-3 sweep by JGR, with Chase Elliott fourth for Hendrick Motorsport as Joey Logano rounded out the top five for Team Penske.
Championship points leader Kyle Larson claimed sixth ahead of Ross Chastain and Kevin Harvick, with Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney completing the top 10.
Race results – 400 laps