Race Weekend Central

Martin Truex Jr. Settles For 2nd With Dominant Car at Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Martin Truex Jr. was the fastest car on the track for 42 green-flag laps in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan Speedway on Aug. 7.

No other driver had more than 18 fastest laps.

Truex had a rocket of a car that went from outside the top 15 to the lead in the 14 laps to end stage two, but after pitting for fuel under the stage caution to allow for a shorter final pit stop, Truex found himself trailing Chris Buescher in the final 20 laps of the race.

Lapped traffic allowed Truex to close in, and he was able to pull side-by-side with Buescher at 12 laps to go. But Truex got tight in turn 2 on lap 189, and he drifted to a second back of Buescher in the process. He made his way back to the wake of the No. 17 car, but it was too little, too late as Buescher took the checkered flag by 0.152 seconds.

See also
Chris Buescher Goes Back to Back With Michigan Win

Truex’s cars could pass people at will in the first two stages, but the car wasn’t good enough in the final stage to seal the deal.

“Clean air,” Truex said. “Passing the leader is nearly impossible on equal tires and fuel, so I needed [Buescher] to slip. He slipped once, I got under him, I couldn’t complete m. It’s the nature of this track and this package that the leader has a huge advantage.

“Car was really good, obviously. I think if we could’ve gotten out front during the pit cycle, we could’ve been gone. Just lost too much time there. Before we hit the green flag cycle, we just weren’t close enough to take advantage of it. We gained on [Buescher] there, but we needed to come out ahead of him and the race would’ve been over.”

Truex complimented his car and his team, but his first Cup win at Michigan will have to wait at least another year.

“Car was amazing,” Truex said. “Great job by my team, and we passed a lot of cars, we came from the back a few times. Stage two was a lot of fun to drive through the field to get that win late, but it’s just, you get to the leader, and you can’t do anything anymore. He’s got the clean air and a huge advantage.

“Congrats to [the No. 17 team], they did what they needed, they did a great job. We came up one spot short, but we definitely passed the most cars and felt like we had the best car out there.”

With how close Truex got to Buescher, he could’ve pushed the issue and been more aggressive in the closing laps; but that’s not his style.

“I wasn’t going to do anything to wreck him or take a chance at wrecking both of us. Second is better than that.”

About the author

Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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DoninAjax

The 19 wasn’t dominant! He spent a lot of laps behind the 17, who was fastest when it mattered. The 17 led more than the 19

Bubba was 20th after his last pit stop and got to 14 when some cars pitted. He was 15th with ten laps to go and wound up 18th, behind HARRISON BURTON. Remember the song Needles And Pins?

Mike

I agree. Truex had a fast car but at the end when it counted the 17 won the race and also out ran the 19. Congrats to buescher. He drove a great race and deserved the win.

Bill B

I agree. Having a car dominate early in the race and having it fade late isn’t exactly a rare occurrence. In fact, it happens quite often.

DoninAjax

I remember Benny Parsons saying years ago that a car that is fast at the beginning isn’t always at the end.

Ronald Thornton

Wow. The race I saw had truex run down buescher not once but twice. Just couldn’t pass him. 19 Crew chief thought his man could come back through. Last pit stop was unnecessary. If 19 stays out like beuscher did, 17 finishes 2nd by a large margin.

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