Battling for the Lead on Final Lap, Truex Jr. Gets Spun Out, Still Manages to Finish 7th
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 7, 2016) – On the final lap of Sunday’s road course race at Watkins Glen International Martin Truex Jr. was running second and chasing down leader Denny Hamlin.
But as the race was getting closer to the checkered flag the No. 2 car (Brad Keselowski) which was positioned in third place, rammed into Truex, sending his spinning Toyota Camry into the wall. The Furniture Row Racing driver still managed to drive his crippled car to the finish line to post a seventh-place finish in the Cheez-It 355 Sprint Cup Series race.
Truex, who showed his displeasure to the No. 2 driver by giving his car a couple of taps during the cool-down lap, was later offered an apology by Keselowski.
“Yeah, definitely unfortunate,” said Truex. “I wish we could’ve seen what would’ve happened when we got to the start finish line. I felt like I maybe had Denny (Hamlin) squared up a little bit off (turn) 11 and maybe could’ve drag raced him to the line, It would have been fun to see, but it wasn’t to be because of getting hit in the left rear. It’s unfortunate, but hard racing at the end, all of us going for a win and all of us locked in the Chase.”
Though he started 14th in the 90 lapper, Truex drove a patient race to get to the front and when he got there his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota was blazing fast on the slippery 11-turn, 2.45-mile road circuit.
“All in all a good day for us,” said Truex, who notched his 10th top 10 of the season. “We had a good race car. Had to battle all day long to get from 14th to the front and had a shot at winning at the end. That’s all you can ask for.”
After the race, Truex was met by a throng of media to discuss the final lap incident. The media interest capped off a newsy weekend for the Denver, Colo.-based team.
On Thursday it was announced that Truex signed a two-year extension with Furniture Row Racing. And on Sunday morning at Watkins Glen International, Furniture Row Racing announced that it will add a second team in 2017 with 20-year-old Erik Jones driving the No. 77 Toyota Camry with major sponsorship from 5-hour ENERGY.
Truex remains eighth in Sprint Cup driver points.
There were eight cautions for 20 laps, two red flags for a total of 30 minutes and nine lead changes among eight drivers. Truex was credited with leading one lap.
The race winner was Hamlin. Rounding out the top-10 in order were Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, AJ Allmendinger, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Truex, Jamie McMurray, Trevor Bayne and Matt Kenseth.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has next weekend off and will resume action Saturday night Aug. 20 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.