A mechanical issue late in the race crippled a commanding performance by Martin Truex Jr., who led a race high of 172 laps in Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway.
Truex, who started the 267 lapper from the pole, was the class of the field until he reported a loose wheel following a Lap 212 pit stop. The culprit was a broken head bolt off the brake that got caught behind the right-front wheel. Truex had no choice but to make an unscheduled pit stop.
The incident sent Truex from a dominating lead to 21st and one lap down. He managed to get back on the lead lap and fought his way through traffic to finish 14th in his No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Truex. “Went around (turns) one and two and I was like, ‘Wheel loose.’ I kept telling myself that maybe it’s not me, maybe it’s just shaking because it has tape on it or something stupid. It was loose and I knew it right away. Frustrating, but that’s how it goes."
Truex added, “We’re going to win races for sure – if we keep bringing cars like that, we’re going to win some. It’s frustrating when you’ve had it happen so many times in your career. I swear, you watch guys win races that don’t have the fastest car or on fuel mileage and all this stuff and it’s like, ‘damn.’ Someday I’m going to get on one of those or on the other side of one of them. Usually you can dominate and win, but it’s tough and it happens. It’s part of racing. We’ll just move on to Dover next week, which is another good track for our Furniture Row Racing team.”
After 11 races Truex ranks 10th in driver points.
The race winner was Kyle Busch, who led the second most laps (69). Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, AJ Allmendinger, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski.
There were six cautions for 30 laps and 16 lead changes among 10 drivers. Truex led five different times.