Martin Truex Jr. “had no idea” how he finished fourth in the season’s penultimate NASCAR Cup race at Martinsville despite having multiple troubles during the race.
Truex was in the lead for the majority of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, but he never seemed to have the same pace as his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.
Truex, on the other hand, was in a significantly more precarious point situation than Hamlin and needed every available spot to have a chance of making the Championship 4, which will be decided next weekend in Phoenix.
Truex appeared to be beset by problems as the intensity among the playoff drivers increased in the final 50 or so laps: he was knocked into the wall by Kurt Busch one lap, he had water spewing out of the front of his #19 Toyota at one point, and a large piece of sheet metal caused a tyre rub on his left front.
On the final two-lap restart, Truex appeared to be in danger of losing his championship hopes, so he pitted to allow his team to repair some of his damage.
However, as the majority of those ahead of him took the bottom lane, Truex chose the top to move up the running order and held on to finish fourth.
He was three points ahead of Kyle Busch for the final position in the Championship 4.
“I have no idea how we finished fourth, honestly,” Truex said.
“I’m going to buy a lottery ticket on the way home. It’s never an easy situation to be kind of on your last run of the race, be in (the Championship 4) one minute and out the next.
“You know there’s not a whole lot you can do other than drive. Worrying about it doesn’t do you any good. You just got to try to go, hit your marks, get the most out of your race car. Luckily, we were able to do that.”
Truex noted that while he was mostly focused on his own race throughout the day, he saw an opportunity to gamble as drivers began to select their final restart lane.
“Everybody took the bottom (lane) and I saw the hole up there (on the top lane) and I was like, ‘I have to go for it,’ and that worked out for us,” he said.
“Just thanks to everybody who helped us all year long to get us to this point.
“Hopefully, we can go to Phoenix and make them proud.”
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