Martin Truex Jr.’s victory last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway loomed even larger after the Furniture Row Racing driver was involved in a race-ending accident Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. He was credited with a 23rd-place finish.
Truex, who automatically earned a transfer into the next playoff round with the Charlotte win, was running in ninth place with 19 laps remaining in his No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, but then the spinning and wrecking started on Talladega’s 2.66-mile tri-oval.
Truex was evaluated and released from the infield care center.
When asked about the accident a candid Truex said, “Well I tried to get into a hole that was closing up at the wrong time and by the time that I got in the brakes trying to get out of there. I got into the 38 (David Ragan) a little bit on the right rear and he got squirrely out there and all hell broke loose. Just was trying to get to the end and get some track position and try to get towards the front and have a good day and ended up causing a wreck, so I hate it for everybody.
“We definitively had nothing to lose today, but at the same time you don’t want to be the person who causes others problems. Even though I feel like I’ve never been that guy here before it looks like today I was, so I hate it for all of those guys and all of their teams. I wish I didn’t make that mistake. Just 18 to go at Talladega, trying to get going and trying to fill a hole. Bad judgement and should have been more patient.”
Even with the 23rd-place finish, Truex remains first in playoff points with one race remaining in the Round of 12.
Truex’s Furniture Row Racing teammate Erik Jones was also void of luck as his No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota was collected in an accident on Lap 27. He finished 36th.
“It was kind of hard to see from my view,” said Jones. “I was behind the 18 (Kyle Busch) and he started checking up, he swerved off to the left and the 1 (Jamie McMurray) was sitting there really slow on the race track so I didn’t really have any choice. Unfortunately ran him over and kind of caused a chain reaction from there. It’s a bummer. We didn’t get to race today and I was hoping we’d just get a chance to see what we had. It’s unfortunate, but those kind of things are going to happen here.”
The race winner was Brad Keselowski. Rounding out the top 10 were: Ryan Newman, Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Gray Gaulding and David Ragan.
The race had 11 cautions for 47 laps and three red flags that totaled approximately 35 minutes. There were 30 lead changes among 16 drivers. There were only 14 cars running at the end of the race.
The next race is Sunday, Oct. 22 at Kansas Speedway where Truex was victorious in May.