Race Weekend Central

Martin Truex Jr. Angry After Dominant Richmond Run Comes Up Short

RICHMOND, Va. — Martin Truex Jr. just needed one more lap without a caution on Sunday night (March 31) and the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway would’ve been his.

But then Bubba Wallace sent Kyle Larson spinning down the frontstretch to bring out the yellow flag just before Truex could take the white flag. That set off a chain of events that spoiled what was going to be a perfect night for the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion.

“Lead the whole race and some dumbass move brings out a caution coming to the white flag and ruined our whole night,” Truex said.

See also
Denny Hamlin Wins in Overtime Finish at Richmond

All of the lead-lap cars pitted during the yellow, and Denny Hamlin‘s crew got him off pit road ahead of Truex. Then Hamlin fired off much better on the restart than Truex did — or jumped the restart, according to Truex — and the No. 11 driver washed up into his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate to complete the pass for the lead.

“We got beat out of the pits and then — I don’t know,” Truex said. “He jumped the start and then used me up into turn 1.”

Hamlin won the race while Truex continued to fall back.

Battling for third on the backstretch of the last lap, Truex’s car appeared to swerve down and bang doors with Larson. Then coming to the checkered flag, Larson came up into the No. 19 and squeezed Truex into the wall, barely beating him for third.

“The 5 [Larson], he drove into the side of me in [turns] 1 and 2,” Truex said. “I got a little loose down the backstretch. I don’t know if my left rear was going down or what, and I kind of slammed into him. No big deal.”

But the checkered flag didn’t signify the end of the action at the Action Track. Truex again slammed into the side of Larson, to which Larson returned the favor.

Then Truex chased down Hamlin and bumped him from behind several times before eventually pulling his car down pit road.

“I felt like 11 [Hamlin] used me up in turn 1, and I didn’t really appreciate a teammate racing me like that,” Truex said. “I wish he would have given me a chance, but you know, it’s the way it is.”

See also
Historic Debut of Wet-Weather Tires Deemed 'Success' at Richmond Raceway

With Truex not winning, the best car on the night did not win the race. Truex led 228 of the race’s 400 laps. He even passed Larson for the lead straight-up after the last green flag pit cycle of the night put the No. 5 car ahead of him.

“Yeah, it’s unfortunate,” Truex said. “Unfortunately, this has happened to me a few times over the years. We were in a great spot and had a great Auto-Owners Toyota Camry all night long. The guys did a really good job all night.”

With the win slipping away, Truex now has a 23-race winless streak dating back to the middle of last season. Despite that, he holds onto the points lead leaving Richmond.

Truex leads the point standings by 14 points over second and 18 over third. The guys in second and third? The two guys Truex was mad at: Larson and Hamlin.

“Definitely sucks, but a good solid day and a car capable of winning,” Truex said. “So we will just have to come back next week and try to get them then.”

About the author

Michael Massie is a writer for Frontstretch. Massie, a Richmond, Va. native, has been a NASCAR superfan since childhood, when he frequented races at Richmond International Raceway. Massie is a lover of short track racing and travels around to the ones in his region. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies.

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John

Truex is the the only one who really thinks Hamlin jumped the start, and then he got all whiney pissy because he lost. End of story.

Spot 01

Denny definitely jumped if you watch the restart zone. He went before he got to the blue. Would be a nit-picky penalty but isn’t NA$CAR full of nit-picky penalties?

Bill B

You a Jamlin fan by any chance?

Spot 01

Absolutely not.

Bill B

That question was to John not you.
I agree with you.

Christopher

Truex is a whiny little baby

Jeremy

I think Denny may have jumped a tiny bit, but Truex was lagging behind and not keeping up with pace of the leader anyway. I’m not a Denny fan, but he did nothing there that NASCAR hasn’t let everyone else do for years. Truex was caught sleeping at the wheel. Larson was just hard racing (rubbin’s racin’). If Truex wants to be mad, he should be mad at himself. But what’s he going to do, crash the car into his own RV to teach himself a lesson? lol

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