Aric Almirola takes blame for accident that ended Martin Truex Jr.’s day at Phoenix

Martin Truex Jr., would have been a hero had he pulled it off.  The Joe Gibbs Racing driver started Sunday’s NASCAR Cup series FanShield 500 from the back of the field after his crew was forced to change and ending in his No. 19 Toyota.

Truex however made a valiant effort however and was soon at the front of the field. He took the lead on lap 139 and led twice for a total of 11 laps.  He ended up having little to show for his efforts at the end of the day.

On a restart with 30 laps to go and while battling for position, Truex was sent hard into the wall and was out of the race.  It came after contact from behind by Aric Almirola.

Needless to say, Truex and his team were none too happy.

“That f—ing clown in the 10 car,” crew chief James Small said on the team radio.

“Yeah, second time he’s hit me going in the corner today.” Truex replied.

Truex took his damage Toyota to the garage and parked it. He was scored 32n.

“I just got ran over,” Truex said putting the blame on Almirola. “He ran into the back of me earlier getting into (turn) one. I hung on to it. These restarts are crazy, it’s fanned out. The 48 (Jimmie Johnson) was in front of me. I wasn’t sure if he was going to come up in front of me on the short shoot or not. Then the 10 (Almirola) ran into us. Can’t finish a race, it sucks.”

Almirola finished eighth and took blame for the incident after the race.

“Honestly it was just a mistake,” he said. “We got down into turn 1 there and he checked up slightly sooner than I expected him to and I was literally an inch or two off his bumper through the dogleg getting down into 1. Just the slight delay from the time that he got on the brakes to when I got on the brakes, I got into the back of him and crashed him. We race around each other a lot, all day.

“We raced around each other and raced each other clean and I had fun racing with him. We swapped positions back and forth and never touched each other and then had that mistake right there. Certainly not intentional but that doesn’t help him.”

Greg Engle