Truex crew chief had memories of Martinsville in the final laps at Richmond Saturday night

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 09: Crew chief Cole Pearn stands in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 9, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

It could have ended very badly for Martin Truex Jr. Saturday night at Richmond.  Truex found himself with a rearview mirror full of Joey Logano with under 5 laps to go. The last time that occurred it wasn’t a happy ending for Truex.

Last fall at Martinsville Truex was second with nine laps left. He bumped Logano coming to the white flag and shot to the lead. Logano countered giving the bumper back to Truex coming out of turn 3; Truex slipped up and the two were side by side and making contact coming out of turn 4. Truex slipped up, Logano won and Denny Hamlin slipped by for second leaving Truex to finish third.

“He won the battle, but he’s not going to win the damn war,” a furious Truex said. “I’m just not going to let him win [the championship]. I’m going to win it.”

That scene flashed in the mind of Cole Pearn Saturday night as Logano crept towards his driver in the closing laps.

“When the 22 got clear and got to our bumper,” Pearn said. “Tt was like, oh, man, here we go, but we managed to make it through and had a lot better result than the last time that happened.”

Truex indeed held onto win, Logano was second. Truex was a great deal more conciliatory after the win, than he was at the third place at Martinsville last October.

“I think he drove me as hard as he could without hitting me, which that’s what I always expect, and that’s kind of how I’ve always raced him,” Truex said.  “Yeah, I mean, I guess it was fine.”

Could that mean the feud is over?

“I don’t know if we’re cool, but I certainly have a lot of respect for Joey as a person and his accomplishments,” Truex said. “I really appreciate the way he raced me tonight.  I don’t know if he tried to hit me or not.  Maybe he didn’t or maybe he did.  I don’t know.  I don’t know, to be honest with you.  I’m glad he didn’t, though.  I appreciate it.  Hopefully we can race clean for the rest of the year.”

Greg Engle