Truex Jr. Overcomes Multiple Setbacks to Finish 9th in Texas
Truex Jr. Overcomes Multiple Setbacks to Finish 9th in Texas
Martin Truex Jr
07 November, 2018, 07:58
The playoff chase has gone from the half-mile paperclip-shaped track at Martinsville to the high-speed 1 1/2-mile Texas layout where polesitter Ryan Blaney qualified at more than 200 miles per hour, along with Bowyer.
Kevin Harvick, one of seven title contenders still trying to lock in a championship shot, has won the first stage of the NASCAR Cup race in Texas.
Kevin Harvick dominated his way to his eighth win of the 2018 season winning both stages of the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. "Today we earned our way in, and we're going to race again next week and try to win another race and then see what we can do at Homestead".
After taking the inside on the first two restarts, and briefly losing the lead after the second one, Harvick opted to start from outside for the green-white-checkered finish.
Kevin Harvick's pit crew services his vehicle during a NASCAR Cup auto race at Texas Motor Speedway, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas.
"I thought if I could keep him from finishing the corner I could drive back by him", Harvick said.
Kevin Harvick gave the checkered flag to a young fan he brought onto the track to take a selfie - one with the winning driver and auto that will have a shot at another NASCAR Cup championship. Blaney was the only challenger he really had, and that only came on restarts.
The Furniture Row Racing driver was in a similar situation last week as he failed postqualifying inspection in Martinsville and had to start at the rear, but Truex still came close to winning as he finished third behind Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin. "I am not going to let what happened last week take my focus off of that". But he's winless this season, just signed a new sponsor and went to Texas with just three races remaining with Chad Knaus, the crew chief who built his team in 2001.
Blaney had taken the lead after the second restart in that final stretch, but Harvick had gone back in front and was still in the lead when Joey Gase's spin brought out the eighth caution.
"Had to start at the back, got to the front, hung around there for a while and then had a loose wheel there again", Truex explained.
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When asked at Texas if everything was cool with Truex, or if his head would be on a swivel looking around, Logano said only time would tell. "That was really the only shot we had to beat him, to be honest with you".
"The 42 (Larson) gave me a heck of a push, but I didn't quite get far enough ahead of the 4 into (Turn) 1", Blaney said. "He motored around me".
Jimmie Johnson was incorrectly sent to the back of the field moments before the race began.
A caution with 38 laps to go created an interesting kink in the pit strategy of many who debated whether or not to pit for tires and fuel, that being the looming question mark throughout Sunday's race.
"I think he was a little frustrated and that is part of it".
"If that is the way he wants to race me when he is already locked into Homestead and we are out here fighting for our lives, that is fine", Almirola said.
"He just continues to make things harder on himself".
Neither Truex nor Kyle Busch had a great race on Sunday, though they salvaged reasonable results to stay well above the playoff cut line. If I sailed off in there as fast as he did, I would have got loose, wrecked us both.
It was a very adventurous race for all eight of the playoff drivers as many fought through difficulties on pit road and on the track. Buescher's JTG-Daugherty organization is using a Hendrick Motorsports engine for the first time next season.
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