Despite a valiant effort, Martin Truex Jr.’s winless streak in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stretched to 210 races last night at Texas Motor Speedway.
Truex was leading the NRA 500 when a caution for debris came out with 21 laps remaining, but when he and the rest of the leaders came down pit road for their final stops, Kyle Busch took advantage of his location in pit stall No. 1 (the closest to the exit of pit road) and a stellar stop from his crew to beat out Truex. That effectively ended the race, as Busch managed to get enough of a cushion to withstand a late rally from Truex and win the race.
After finishing in second place for the seventh time in his Sprint Cup career, Truex made no secret of how he felt.
“Second sure sucked tonight,” he said. “…I’m just disappointed. The race was over when we got beat out of the pits. The bottom was so fast for a couple laps and I was really worried, honestly, that I was going to lose second because Carl [Edwards] was on the inside of me. I was just somehow able to run [Turns] 1 and 2 wide open and get him cleared. Just the guy that gets clean air is hard to get.
“It’s hard to catch in 10 laps and I just was a little bit tight behind Kyle [Busch]. I started catching him as we were running — just out of time. The race was over in the pits.”
Truex’s finish at Texas was still his best of the season, and he indicated that he was grateful for that (“Finishing second is good — I’m not saying that’s not the case,” he said). But he knows how tough his competition is and how rare the chances can be to pull one over on them, which made his latest runner-up all the more disappointing.
“It is so hard to make your car good enough to beat Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch and all these guys — and we had that tonight,” he said.
Likely further adding to Truex’s annoyance was his No. 56 Michael Waltrip Toyota being found to be too low in post-race inspection. Penalties from NASCAR could result in the next couple of days.