Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch had the dominant cars in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
But after a restart with 50 laps remaining in the scheduled 160-lap race Truex and Busch were running 1-2 respectively. But by the time their Camrys got to Turn 1 and fighting for the lead the Toyota drivers got tangled which triggered a race-ending accident for both Truex and Busch. Truex finished 33rd and Busch 34th in a NASCAR Cup Series race that was red flagged three times, once for rain (nearly two hours) and two other times for accidents.
Truex’s No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Camry hit the wall sideways and then erupted into a gulf of flames. Truex managed to exit the car and was later evaluated and released at the track’s infield medical center.
Truex’s Furniture Row Racing teammate Erik Jones also saw his race end early when he was involved in a lap 148 multicar accident.
Truex didn’t offer any excuses or sidestep the issue of who was at fault during his live interview on NBC.
“I just got loose and wrecked him – totally my fault,” said Truex. “Didn’t really know what to expect in that position and didn’t really realize that he was going to drive in that deep and suck me around. I will take the blame for that and obviously it was my fault. I hate it for Kyle (Busch), he had a great car and we did as well, but that’s racing. Glad I was able to get out, fire was bad. I had no brakes and I had to run into the wall a second time just to get it to stop so I could get out. Fortunately, I’m okay and we’ll live to race another day.”
When asked if he felt he had no other choice than to race Busch on that restart Truex said, “We worked well together and that’s the hard part about this stuff is when it’s time to go. I feel awful and just made a mistake. Definitely should have picked the outside and it would have been fine I guess. Just the way it goes. Hate it for Auto Owners and everyone involved at Furniture Row. We had an awesome car today and we got out front, I don’t think they were going to be able to beat us. A mistake on my part took us out of it, but we’ll get them next week.”
Though he took an early exit, Truex actually increased his driver points lead over second-place Kyle Larson. Truex came into the race with a 38-point lead and leaves with a 48-point lead, thanks to a pair of second-place finishes in each of the first two stages that gave him an additional 18 championship points.
Jones, driving the No. 77 Sport Clips Toyota, saw his day end when he was involved in Lap 148 multicar wreck while running 17th. He was credited with a 31st-place finish.
Jones finished 12th in Stage 1 and picked up seven championship points by finishing fourth in Stage 2.
“Well, I got under the 14 (Clint Bowyer) off of (Turn) 4 and there were some lapped cars in front of us,” said Jones. "I was almost at his door and wrecked me and him. It looks like the 41 (Kurt Busch) got into it somehow, so it’s just unfortunate. There’s just been a lot of stuff like that to us this year. It seemed like our Sport Clips Camry was fast, got better all day and we had a top-five car. Just didn’t get to see it all play out. It’s been the story of our season. We’ve run well, run up front, just haven’t been able to close the races out whether it’s our own fault, bad luck or other circumstances. We know we can take a lot away from it.”
The 21-year-old rookie is 17th in the point standings, three points behind the 16th-place driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
The race winner was Kasey Kahne. Rounding out the top 10 in order were: Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Daniel Suarez, Matt Dibenedetto, Chris Buescher and AJ Allmendinger.
The race at 14 cautions for 55 laps and three red flags. There were 10 lead changes among seven drivers.
The next race is Sunday (July 30) at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.