LONG POND, Pa. (AP) — Martin Truex Jr. had his car parked on the White House lawn and was feted with a day in his honor in his home state of New Jersey. Nearly seven months after winning his first NASCAR Cup championship, Truex's whirlwind victory tour remains on a barnstorming schedule.

Lost in the shuffle in a season where Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have turned the Cup Series into a two-driver show, Truex came to Pocono and gave the field a reminder that he's still a driver to beat in the championship race.

Truex stayed out on pivotal caution late in the race to take the lead, then pulled away off a restart with seven laps left to win Sunday at Pocono Raceway and thrust himself into title contention.

Truex said it with a straight face, as the 37-year-old Furniture Row Racing driver is still having the type of season that — oh, all but two drivers — would love to produce. He won the fifth race of the season at Fontana and had runner-up finishes in each of the last two races headed into Pocono where he won his first race for FRR in 2015 and launched his journeyman-to-champion career metamorphosis.

Still, Busch and Harvick had made a habit of collecting checkered flags; the two former Cup champions combined to win nine of the first 13 races. And each driver spent enough time in front — Harvick led 89 laps; Busch 13 — that a one-two finish at Pocono seemed almost certain on the 2 1/2-mile track.

Truex and Harvick each stayed out on a caution with 20 laps left in the race. Busch made a pit stop and surrendered the lead to Truex. Truex then held off a hard-charging Kyle Larson down the stretch and showed he's still a threat to win his second straight title.

The Harvick-Busch-Truex champions trio have won 10 of 14 races. Larson was second, followed by Busch and Harvick. Brad Keselowski was fifth.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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