The bottom lane means bad bottom line for Martin Truex Jr.

BROOKLYN, MI - JUNE 17: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 17, 2017 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

BROOKLYN, Mich. – For much of Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway, Martin Truex Jr. appeared likely to sweep the proceedings.

He won the first two 60-lap stages, and he likely had the strongest car in the race. Unfortunately, Truex lined up fifth, fifth, ninth and seventh for the final four restarts of the race—all in the bottom lane where grip through Turns 1 and 2 was almost impossible to find.

“We had the best car out there without a doubt,” Truex said. “Just inside lane restarts at the end killed us, so it just stinks when you have to race like that, you know? You get just in a bad spot, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

“We saw it the last couple restarts, so just wrong place. Probably should have took two tires that last time we pitted – we took four. That killed us. Just wrong lane on the restart every single time all day long and couldn’t use the best car to win.”

Truex led 62 laps, second only to race winner Kyle Larson’s 96, but finished sixth and lost the series lead to Larson by five points.

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