Martin Truex Jr. has an ‘oh-you-know-what’ moment in practice

KANSAS CITY, KS - MAY 10: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Auto Owners Insurance Toyota, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 10, 2019 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

It was one of those incidents that unfolds almost in slow motion.

During Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series final practice for Saturday night’s Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the rear of Kyle Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet stepped out as Larson ran near the outside wall through Turns 1 and 2.

The car slid sideways and angled back down toward the infield. Martin Truex Jr., winner of last Monday’s rain-delayed race at Dover, was the third car in line behind Larson, and he could see it coming.

“That was one of those ‘oh-you-know-what’ moments,” Truex said. “I saw him out of the corner of my eye as we were almost-but-not-quite side by side. I could see him get loose up at the top, and I’m staying wide open, and I could see he’s coming down the track pointing at me.

“He’s coming down the track, and I’m staying wide open, wide open, wide open. And he keeps coming down, coming down, coming down. And I’m like, ‘Oh, man, make a decision here—hold it wide open or try to slow it down.’

“At the last second, I just tried to step on the brakes, because he was obviously coming down on my right front. Luckily, he got it straight—kind of—just in time, and I kind of got backed out of there just in time. And I think we actually touched—barely. About that hard (Truex tapped the dais in the media center lightly). So we got pretty lucky there, for sure.”

Truex needed some luck. He and his Joe Gibbs Racing team struggled during practice to find the right balance on the No. 19 Toyota.

“We had a bit of a rough day today,” said Truex, who was 21st fastest in Happy Hour. “But we’re excited about racing here in Kansas. It’s been good to us. So hopefully we can get it dialed in, get a few things figured out this afternoon and tonight and have a good run (Saturday) evening.”

Greg Engle