Martin Truex Jr. admits team ‘just missed it’ with once dominant car


CONCORD, N.C. – Martin Truex Jr. had the same car he dominated Charlotte Motor Speedway with in May, but it did not have the same performance Sunday afternoon.

Although he started seventh, Truex never posed much of a threat for the victory in the Bank of America 500, placing 13th.

It was a surprising turn of events after Truex led 392 of 400 laps in the Coca-Cola 600 en route to picking up his first win of the season. It was also the same car that went to victory lane three weeks ago at Chicagoland Speedway in the Chase opener.

“We just missed it,” Truex said as he walked through the garage. “We had good speed; we just needed clean air to be able to do it because we were on a splitter so bad. I don’t know, we just missed our travels for some reason and were just plowing the hell out of the ground all day long. We made a few packer adjustments to try and get it off the ground, we just never did go far enough.

“Even with that said,,  we still had a second-, third-, fourth-place car towards the end of the race, which for as bad as we were is saying something because it wasn’t very good. We just missed it. Kind of banking off what we did here in the first race and just didn’t get enough practice to work out those little details.”

With an average running position of 9.93, Truex was in contention for a top-five finish until he lost his track position on the race’s final pit stop. After entering pit road fourth, the No. 78 car stalled when Truex went to pull out of his pit box, a faulty clutch the culprit.

“Just freak deal with the clutch going out,” Truex said. “I’m not sure what happened there; clutch engaged itself and stalled the engine then we just sitting there dead. So luckily it started in gear. I was worried it wasn’t going to start at all, so luckily it started and we got back going.”

Things could have been worse, Truex acknowledges. He escaped without damage when he got into the back of Austin Dillon on a Lap 260 restart. The crash claimed a total of 11 cars, including Chase contenders Dillon and Chase Elliott.

Truex took the blame over the Furniture Row Racing team radio and admitted following the race he had made a “stupid” move.

“I flat ran Austin over,” Truex said. “He got going pretty good, started spinning his tires a little, and I tried to give him a shove to get him going, thinking I was going to help him out, and I guess hit him way too hard. I thought I was square, and we were going to be good, and I was just going to help him out. As soon as I hit him, just turned him around, so completely my fault. I feel awful for him and Slugger (Labbe, crew chief) and all those guys and all the other guys I tore up behind him. I just misjudged it trying to help. Just a stupid move, I guess.”

The positive from Sunday is that Truex remains above the Chase cutoff line heading into Kansas Speedway. Five other Chase drivers finished 30th or worse Sunday, giving Truex a 19-point advantage over Dillon, who is the first driver out of a transfer spot.

“I think we’re fine,” Truex said looking forward. “One race at a time. Thirteenth, like I said, it was a disappointing ending to our day, but all in all, a lot of guys had a lot worse days. You only got to beat four of them. We’ve got a good track next week, and we’ll go get after them in Kansas.”

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NBCSN to broadcast NASCAR announcement at 6 p.m. ET Monday

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NBCSN will air live a press conference held by NASCAR industry stakeholders to discuss the upcoming 2017 season at 6 p.m. ET Monday.

The announcement will be attended by NASCAR executives, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers, NASCAR team representatives and NASCAR track representatives.

The press conference is being held at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Kyle, Kurt Busch compete in first day of Race of Champions exhibition

DOVER, DE - MAY 30:  Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, left, talks with brother Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 30, 2015 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
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Kurt and Kyle Busch are in Miami this weekend to take part in the international auto racing competition, Race of Champions. The exhibition event is two days and pits drivers from every major auto racing league against each other.

The Busch brothers are the only NASCAR representatives in the competition. They are joined multiple Formula One drivers, Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Alexander Rossi, Ryan-Hunter Reay, James Hinchciffe and Tony Kanaan and action sports star Travis Pastrana. Prior to the start of the races, all of the drivers got psyched up together.

And right before the event began, Kurt Busch showed off his new No. 41 Monster Energy Ford by doing donuts in the middle of the race course.

But when it came time to race Kurt Busch’s had a tough day. He and former Formula One driver David Coulthard competed in the vehicles used in the NASCAR Euro Series and Coulthard crossed the finish line with a healthy lead over the Stewart-Haas Racing driver.

Kyle Busch was marginally better in his first race against F1 driver Jenson Button, who won but with the Joe Gibbs Racing driver right at Button’s rear wheel.

But Kyle Busch bounced back in his second race and defeated Hinchcliffe, which advanced him out of the first round. But he was eliminated from the competition when he was swept by Coulthard in the next round.

In Kurt Busch’s second race, he faced Hunter-Reay, who was one of his teammates when he competed in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. Busch won, but he wasn’t able to advance to the next round.

The competition was eventually won by Montoya, who is taking part in the Race of Champions for the first time.

Both Busch brothers will be back on Sunday to compete for the Nations Cup.

Kyle Busch entered into SRL Winter Showdown Super Late Model race

JOLIET, IL - SEPTEMBER 16:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive for Safety 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 16, 2016 in Joliet, Illinois. Busch is seen here wearing his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series fire suit.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Kyle Busch is entered into the third annual SRL Winter Showdown, a Super Late Model race at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California.

Busch, who is competing in the Race of Champions this weekend in Miami, will drive the No. 51 Toyota Camry sponsored by JBL in the Feb. 11 race.

Busch and his competitors will be trying to claim the $30,000 prize for winning the race. Kyle Busch Motorsports had a presence in last year’s Showdown when Todd Gilliland competed for the team.

“They have a pretty strong field lined up again this year with Bubba Pollard coming back and trying to make it three-in-a-row. And then you add in some of the West Coast guys like Derek Thorn, David Mayhew and Noah Gragson, who will be running one of my trucks full-time this season, and it has a lot of great drivers,” Busch told “One of the things that is going to be really cool is that this will be the first time that Erik Jones and I get to race against each other in the supers since he beat me in the Snowball Derby back in 2013.”

Busch is quite successful in his Super Late Model career, having won the Snowball Derby, CRA SpeedFest, the Oxford 250, the Winchester 400 and the Battle at Berlin in recent years.

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Social Roundup: 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 20:  NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees (L-R)Richard Childress, Mark Martin, and Rick Hendrick pose for a portrait prior to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Induction Ceremony at NASCAR Hall of Fame on January 20, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
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Last night, the NASCAR Hall of Fame inducted its eighth class, including Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress, Mark Martin, Benny Parsons and Raymond Parks.

The night was filled with current and future Hall of Famers celebrating the history of the sport and the lives of the five inductees.

MORE: Benny Parsons’ Hall of Fame induction an emotional celebration

MORE: Mark Martin went from a “broken man” to a Hall of Famer

Here’s a look at how the night played out on social media with observations on the inductees from current NASCAR drivers and one message from future NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.

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