Disaster Strikes Truex Jr. Late in Richmond

By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer

With two laps to go Sunday night, Martin Truex Jr. was reeling in a fourth race win at Richmond Raceway and the first of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

And then a leader’s worst nightmare was keyed over the radio: “Caution!”

When Kyle Larson spun off the front nose of Bubba Wallace, a nearly 1-second gap for Truex evaporated and a head-to-head battle on pit road matched Truex against Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.

A 9.84-second stop by the No. 11 crew proved to be too fast for Truex’s No. 19 crew, who only managed second place off pit road.

The ensuing restart saw contact between the JGR duo in Turn 2 and Hamlin cruise to the victory in overtime.

“Unfortunately, it’s happened to us a few times at Richmond here,” Truex said. “You lead the whole race and some stupid, dumbass move brings out a caution coming to the white and ruins our whole night.

“Came in [pit road] with the lead, go out second to the fastest pit crew on pit road is a tough one to swallow. I feel like we still had to race for it, we just got used up in Turn 1 on the restart.”

Though second place off pit road, Truex didn’t finish there. Himself and Kyle Larson clashed multiple times over the final lap, resulting in a fender-slamming finish across the line for third.

Truex was fourth.

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

“I felt like Hamlin used me up in Turn 1. I didn’t really appreciate a teammate racing me like that. I wish he would have given me a chance, but yeah that’s the way it is.”

Leading a race-high 228 laps, Truex continues to be one of the series’ most competitive and consistent race teams, despite being winless through seven races.

“It was unfortunate but honestly, an awesome job by my team,” he said. “Our Auto Owners Camry was the rocket, it was something like we’ve had here in the past.

“It was typical Richmond. Tires go off and it gets really, really hard to pass. You get in traffic and it really hurts your tires a lot. That’s just what we fought here in the past. Pretty typical Richmond.”

One thought on “Disaster Strikes Truex Jr. Late in Richmond

  1. Did anyone even notice the cause of the late caution at Richmond. It was a Denny Hamlin owned car that turned a competitor that brought out the caution. If there was no caution, Hamlin wouldn’t be making a spectacular pit and then jump the start line nor win the race. He would not even be 2cnd or 3rd.

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