Martin Truex Jr. none too pleased with late caution at Richmond

RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 08: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota, drives during Practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 8, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. – Martin Truex Jr. cradled the trophy he earned as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular-season champion, but his mind was elsewhere.

Truex was still bitter about the chain of circumstances that deprived him of a likely victory in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 and ended his night with a crash into the Turn 1 wall.

Truex was leading by more than two seconds when the No. 15 Chevrolet of Derrike Cope scraped the outside wall on lap 397 of a scheduled 400, causing the sixth and final caution of the night.

Truex led the field to pit road but came out second behind Kyle Larson, and after Larson took the lead on an overtime restart on Lap 403, Truex slammed into the Turn 1 wall on the final lap after contact from Denny Hamlin’s Toyota.

Truex didn’t mince words.

“The final caution, I really don’t know what it was for,” he said. “I haven’t seen it. I just know it was the 15 car, who was 20 some laps down (actually 16). I don’t even think he makes minimum speed, and really doesn’t even belong out there. I don’t know if he apparently scraped the wall a few times, and I don’t know, couldn’t stay in the race track as slow as he was going.

No wonder the regular-season trophy presentation was bittersweet for Truex, who locked up the title last Sunday at Darlington.

“I wish they’d given me the trophy last week,” Truex said.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.