In the closing laps of Sunday’s Cheez-it 355 at the Glen, Martin Truex, Jr. closed the gap to a car-length in the final turn of the lap to race leader Denny Hamlin, but was spun out by Brad Keselowski, resulting in a seventh-place finish.
Immediately following the event, Keselowski approached Truex on pit road admitting to his mistake. The spin cost the No. 78 team five positions.
A former winner at Sonoma, Truex was looking to pick up his first win at Watkins Glen International, leading one lap on the afternoon. Starting 14th, the No. 78 team spent much of the day in the top 10, after having the fastest car on Friday in practice.
“It’s unfortunate,” Truex said of the incident. “I wish we could have seen how it played out when we got to the finish line, maybe we could have drag raced him to the line. It’s just the way that these races play out. More times than not you get spun out. All in all, it was a good day, but qualifying hurt us. We worked to get to the front all day long and we weren’t really that good on restarts for three or four laps. It was going to be a good day until the last corner. We had a shot at the win and that’s all you can ask for.
On the cool down lap, Truex showed his displeasure as he drove up to the No. 2 car, bumping him down the back straightaway, putting him in the wall.
Truex was on pace to improving his career-high finish of third at Watkins Glen which he posted in 2013 for Michael Waltrip Racing. With three cautions in the final 14 laps of the 90 lap race, Furniture Row Racing had its best shot at a win on a road course in team history.
“They played out good for us,” Truex said of the bundle of cautions at the end of the race. “Our car wasn’t great on restarts, but those guys kept over-driving turn one and give up those spots. Ultimately, the restarts are what gave us a shot at the win, including Denny.”
Hamlin, Truex and Keselowski all had wins coming into the road course. When all three had a shot at the victory on the final lap, it was every man for himself.
“I guess he kind of races with that mentality of ‘hey it doesn’t really matter where we finish or if we finish,'” Truex said of Keselowski. “I’ll be mindful of that when we’re around him for the rest of the time.
“It’s like ‘oh you’re sorry,’ but what do I get out of it?” Truex elaborated. “That’s racing. It’s like yesterday in qualifying. A guy pulls out in front of you and he says ‘I’m sorry’ well no [expletive] you’re sorry, but get out of the way and stop doing stupid stuff. I don’t run over people all the time. I don’t pull out in front of people in qualifying, so race me like I race you is all I ask.”
Ironically, heading into the off week, Truex sits eighth in the points, 115 points behind Keselowski. The series returns to Bristol on August 20, where Truex finished 14th in the spring.