Martin Truex Jr. came up one turn short Sunday. After starting in the back of the field at Martinsville after failing inspection and losing his sixth-place starting spot that morning, Truex spent most of the 500 laps fighting his way forward.
Truex was looking for the lead from Joey Logano with less than 10 laps to go hounding Logano at every turn as the two raced side by side.
On the final lap Truex was able to slip by and had the lead going into turn 3.
Logano, who led a race high 309 laps, would not be denied, used the “bump and run” maneuver a move used in NASCAR at short tracks for as long as there has been stock car racing. Logano was able to move Truex up the track and the two came out of turn 4 side by side. Both touched and nearly spun with Logano able to slide across the finish line for the win.
Truex was forced to settle for third after Denny Hamlin was able to rocket by at the end. The defending series champion was none too happy after it was over.
“They won the battle,” Truex said. “But he didn’t win the damn war.”
As for revenge Truex did not hesitate to let it be known.
“I’m just not going to let him win it,” he said referring to the 2018 Cup championship. “I’m going to win it.”
First Truex must make it to the final 4 at Homestead, now just two races away.
“That’s the plan right now,” he said.
As for the final laps, Truex felt he was very clear on what had happened.
“I was next to him for six laps,” he said. “I never knocked him out of the way. We were going to race hard for it in my book. I cleared him fair and square. We weren’t even banging doors for me to pass him. He just drove into the back of me and knocked me out of the way. That’s short track racing, but what goes around comes around.”
“I pretty much had the feeling going to the backstretch that that was going to happen,” he added. “And there was nothing I could do about it. It sucks, but that’s the way it goes. I can promise you I won’t forget what he did.”