DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Coming to the green flag on the first green-white-checkered attempt, Martin Truex Jr. was in prime position to win in his first race with Michael Waltrip Racing; instead he watched as his former team won the 52nd running of the Daytona 500.
On the second to final restart, Truex passed leader Greg Biffle going into turn 1, but a hard-charging Kevin Harvick moved him out of the racing groove seconds before the caution came out for a multi-car accident. Harvick would restart first on the races’ second and final green-white-checkered while Truex restarted seventh, eventually finishing sixth.
“Harvick was pushing and I knew he wasn’t going to push me to the win. He was doing what he had to do to win. I felt him pull off my bumper and I tried to block, [but] I just couldn’t get there quick enough,” he said. “He had me hooked and kept turning me and I just couldn’t quite get down in front of him. He was just kind of holding me there.”
In the heat of the moment, Truex initially called the contact with Harvick “dirty,” but later recanted his comments and focused on what is a great start to 2010 with his new team.
“It is what it is,” he said. “I’m just proud of the guys. This was an awesome first day out for us and I’m looking forward to this year, it’s going to be an awesome one.”
After nearly being involved in an accident in the sport’s first attempt at a new green-white-checkered, it wouldn’t be difficult for Truex to be frustrated with the new restart rules. But after a race that involved two lengthy red flags for a pothole in turn 2, he believes that fans deserved the unpredictability and excitement multiple attempts at finishing under green brings.
“It’s all about the fans and they got what they came for. There were 10 or 15 of us that could’ve won this race just based on how the cards fell and how many green-white-checkers it ended up at,” he said. “It was suspenseful, that’s for sure. You never knew what was going to happen.”
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