Connect with us

NASCAR Cup Series

Martin Truex Jr. Misses Championship 4 After 12th Place Martinsville Finish

Martin Truex Jr. led the early laps at Martinsville Speedway. (Photo: Phil Cavali | The Podium Finish)

RIDGEWAY, Va. – Martin Truex Jr. failed to advance into the Championship 4 following a 12th place finish for the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Coming into the final race of the Cup Series Playoffs, Martin Truex Jr. was 17 points below the cutline to advance into the Championship 4. After winning the pole position for the race at NASCAR’s shortest track, it appeared Truex and the No. 19 team could have the speed they needed to advance, or even win the race.

Truex was able to maintain his position for the first 48 laps of the Xfinity 500 until Denny Hamlin passed him on the inside groove. This put Truex seven points below the Playoff cutline. By the end of Stage 1, Ryan Blaney (No. 12) had also passed Truex. The 43-year-old had fallen 20 points below the cutline by this time, despite his third place stage finish.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver maintained third place through the first part of Stage 2. However, the No. 19 team’s day took an unfavorable turn when Truex was sent to the rear of the field for speeding on pit road on Lap 219.

Originally, Truex would have restarted second without the penalty. As a result of the speeding penalty, he was not able to recover a significant amount of his track position, finishing the stage 22nd, sitting 31 points below the cutline to advance into the Championship 4.

Throughout the final stage, Truex was able to work his way back up to 12th place but was 28 points below the cutline by the time the race was final. After the race, Truex spoke about his pit road penalty and how he feels being at the rear of the field effected his car.

“It’s completely different,” Truex said. “If we couldn’t find a way to flip track position pit stop wise, we were never gonna get there. I mean our car was good, but the fuel is so tight and so close, your car just drives so much worse in traffic. So, I feel like we did really good to get back to here we did. You just burn the tires off so much worse back there in that hot dirty track and in dirty air. You’re in more rubber and it’s just a dog fight.”

“So, I don’t know, we gave it a hell of an effort. I feel like we had a really strong car, I don’t think we could have beat the 12 (Ryan Blaney), he was really really strong. We were definitely close, something to work on next time, but (I’m) just really disappointed, you know, I thought I was well under speed leaving that box and clearly we were speeding so obviously we have something to look at there. It’s devastating, but that’s racing.”

Truex also spoke about his 2023 Playoff journey in general, and what he feels kept him from getting to race for a championship next week in Phoenix.

“I think it just shows how tough this sport is. Anybody that races here and guys that have raced here that do the broadcast, they’ll tell you, I mean it’s this close,” he said. “You find this little bit and suddenly you look like a hero. Some other guys find some stuff and suddenly you’re not.

“We’ve been fast at times but execution hasn’t been solid, hasn’t been consistent. We’ve had some bad luck, had a little bit of everything.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in NASCAR Cup Series