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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup

Hard Feelings: Richmond Debacle Still Troubles Truex

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In case you were wondering, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points leader Martin Truex Jr. is still pretty ticked off about Saturday night’s shenanigans at Richmond Raceway.

There, Truex led 198 of the first 397 laps and had a lead of about 4 seconds, seemingly on his way to an easy victory in his Furniture Row Racing Toyota.

Then, with three laps to go, Derrike Cope lightly brushed the wall to bring out a caution flag. Under the yellow, all the leaders pitted for fresh rubber and Kyle Larson beat Truex off pit road and went on to win the race.

Truex, appearing at the NASCAR Playoff Media Day in Charlotte on Wednesday, remains unhappy about the end of the Richmond race and said he is concerned something similar could happen in the playoffs. “If it (a late-race yellow) comes at the wrong time, I am (concerned),” Truex said.

Asked if there was too much emphasis placed on late-race drama in the playoffs, Truex said, “Yes. Yes, there is. Hopefully, that won’t happen again.”

Especially not in the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In the three years since NASCAR has adopted the winner-take-all format at Homestead, there has been a caution flag in the last 10 laps all three years. Two of those cautions were for debris.

In the seven previous seasons, when the champion was determined by the results of all 10 playoff races, not once was a caution flag thrown in the last 10 laps of the Homestead race.

Truex, understandably, doesn’t want to see a late-race yellow this year, especially not a repeat of the Cope fiasco at Richmond.

“We don’t want to go to Homestead and have a car that’s 25 laps down scrape the wall or blow a tire and change the outcome, possibly, of the championship or who the champion is,” he said.

Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen is a veteran motorsports journalist. He spent 13 years with, where he was Digital Content Manager. Previously, he was executive editor of NASCAR Scene and managing editor of National Speed Sport News. Jensen served as the president of the National Motorsports Press Association and is the group’s former Writer of the Year.