Truex Jr.’s Chance of Victory
Slips Away with Late-Race Speeding Penalty
BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 24, 2017) – Martin Truex Jr. gave it a little extra in Monday’s rain-delayed NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, but as it turned out that additional effort cost him a shot at winning the Food City 500.
Truex was running a close second to Jimmie Johnson when he came down pit road for the final time on Lap 462 of 500. It appeared that his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota was going to take the lead when he exited pit road, but NASCAR called Truex for a speeding penalty that sent him back to 16th place with not many laps remaining at the half-mile oval.
“We were going for it, I wish we could have had a shot there just to see if we could have won,” said Truex. “You try to get what you can and sometimes you cross the line and today we crossed the line. This Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota with everyone that helps us make it right – Toyota, TRD, 5-hour ENERGY, WIX Filters, Bass Pro Shops, Auto-Owners Insurance and just everybody, was fast all day.
“This is the best run we’ve had here in a long time. It’s bittersweet, I wish we could have seen if we could have beat the 48 (Jimmie Johnson). We were close before that last caution, but it is what it is. All in all, it was an awesome day and a lot of fun.”
There were indeed plenty of positives that came out of the race for Truex, who ran inside the top-five until the speeding penalty. He won the second stage and was second in the first stage. He picked up an extra 19 standing points and one playoff bonus point. He leads the series with five stage wins and is tied with 10 playoff bonus points.
His eighth-place finish was his first top-10 in five years at Bristol and he also led 116 laps, two more than he led in his first 22 starts at the Tennessee short track.
Truex remains third in the driver points. He has posted five top-10 finishes in the first eight races of the 2017 season.
The race winner was Johnson. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Truex, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Denny Hamlin.
The race had nine cautions for 76 laps and there were 14 lead changes among seven drivers.
The next Cup race is Sunday April 30 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.