Martin Truex Jr. surprises himself with a top 10 finish at New Hampshire

LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE - JUNE 23: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Reser's Fine Foods Toyota, spins after an on-track incident during the NASCAR Cup Series Today 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 23, 2024 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

The defending winner at New Hampshire looked in a good position to score a repeat win Sunday.

In what is probably his last race at what he considers his home track, Martin Truex Jr.  asserted himself early in the race charging from his seventh place starting spot. He would finish Stage 1 in sixth, but it was Stage 2 when Truex began to become a contender.

He would challenge his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin for the lead and finish Stage 2 second. He seemed set up to possibly score a win in his final season of fulltime racing.

But during the pit stops during the Stage break it all started to come apart.

The crew had trouble on the right rear tire of his Toyota. The jack man dropped the car and ran to the left side, but the right rear tire wasn’t secure forcing the jack man to come back around. Truex came out 28th.

Then on lap 209 while fighting for position in the 21st spot, Truex came down into Brad Keselowski and was sent spinning. The spin effectively ended his hopes for a win.

After a rain delay of just over two hours however, Truex was able to rally and finish inside the top 10 in ninth. It was a finish he was not expecting given the issues he had before the rains came.

“Definitely not,” Truex said. “When it was pouring rain, I thought we were headed home. Definitely a tough day. We had a speed in our Reser’s Camry. It is a shame the way things worked out, but definitely happy to get a top-10.

“It has been a rough four weeks, so we needed a good finish. We had good stage points, and we needed a good finish, so glad that we got it, but it hurts to have a tough day here, probably being my last one.”

Truex’s JGR teammate Christopher Bell won the race.

Greg Engle