TALLADEGA, Ala – You can visually see what Martin Truex Jr’s plan was for this weekend’s 1000Bulbs.com 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway. Before rain halted the race on Sunday, he quickly went to the back. He crossed the finish line in 31st at the opening stage break.
Then, once we got restarted on Monday afternoon, Truex remained back there. A wrench was thrown into those plans though when he and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate of Denny Hamlin were hit with speeding on pit road for the stop during the second stage.
Without another trip down pit road for the remained of Stage 2, they’d fall out of the draft after serving their penalties and likely would fall a lap down.
With five laps-to-go in the second stage, the pack caught them. They’d be scored a lap down. Unfortunately, one lap later, the “Big One” occurred.
Alex Bowman moved to block a run by Joey Logano on the backstretch and sparked a 10 lap crash heading into Turn 3. By virtue of just being caught by the pack, Truex and Hamlin were collected.
Truex’s No. 19 Toyota was badly damaged but still able to continue on. Then, his tire went down on Lap 131 causing more damage as his race winning hopes were dashed.
Truex, would limp home 26th on Monday.
The good news for him is, he entered this weekend +63 in the playoff standings. He had room for a mulligan. Now, he leaves +48 with one race left in the Round of 8.
For Truex, he hasn’t had a top 10 finish at Talladega since 2015. He’s had one top five since 2007. Furthermore, his last seven Talladega finishes have seen him finish 20th or worse.