Martin Truex Jr. doesn’t get chance to challenge for win after pit call backfires

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After leading a race-high 95 laps and running near the front when he wasn’t pacing the field, Martin Truex Jr. never got the chance to go for the win.

A decision by crew chief Cole Pearn not to change any tires on Truex’s final pit stop backfired, and Truex left Kansas Speedway with a misleading ninth-place finish.

“I’m sorry, man,’’ Pearn said to Truex on the radio after the race. “We didn’t do you any favors. Had we taken two it probably would have worked out better. Sorry man.’’

“I hear you, man,’’ Truex responded. “Live and learn, bud. We’ll get one. You made the right call all year, so I wouldn’t get too upset about it.’’

“I wish we had half a gallon more,’’ Pearn said. “We could have at least thought about staying out there.

“I hear you, man,’’ Truex said. “I told you I hate fuel-milage races and that’s exactly why. They suck.’’

While Truex’s winless streak increased to 67 races since his last win – June 2013 at Sonoma – he again proved that this single-car team can compete with the sport’s top teams and is closing on a victory.

Truex is one of five drivers who have scored top-10 finishes in each of the four races on 1.5-mile tracks this season. Truex’s average finish of 6.5 in those races is better than every driver this season but Kevin Harvick (1.75 average finish), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (3.25) and Joey Logano (5.75).

“Definitely not the finish we wanted, obviously, but proud of the guys for the weekend we had, just had good speed all weekend,’’ Truex said.

Truex’s race turned when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. brought out the caution on Lap 257 in the 267-lap race. Harvick led but had been saving fuel. Truex was second and also had been doing so. Truex was about to make his charge when the caution waved.

Close on fuel, Pearn had Truex pit but didn’t change tires. The quicker stop allowed Truex to exit pit road first but four cars did not pit – eventual winner Jimmie Johnson, Earnhardt, Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon. Truex restarted fifth. Harvick, with two fresh tires, started sixth.

Busch, starting in front of Truex, got a poor jump and that boxed Truex with nowhere to go. By the time Busch got back to speed, Truex was too far from the leaders and with no fresh tires, fell back.

Had Truex taken two tires, he likely would have started behind Harvick, putting Truex sixth. In that scenario, he wouldn’t have been boxed in by Busch’s slow restart.

“We should have either stayed out or took new tires,’’ Truex said after the race. “We probably did the worst thing you could have done there with just staying out and getting gas only because we ended up being the last guy with no tires. Everybody else behind us had two and they ate us up on the restart.

“All in all, I told Cole that he’s still new at this, this is his first year calling races, and he’s been spot‑on all year long. He’s taken gambles when he needed to that paid off. He’s been smart when he needed to. He’s done everything right, and tonight he just … he didn’t make the right call.’’

Despite the disappointment, Truex sees progress with his team.

“I felt like we were more competitive this weekend than we’ve been,’’ he said. “We’ve been a consistent top-five to top-10 car. I felt like tonight we kind of gained a big step in speed, and hopefully that’s something that will continue.’’

 

Bristol Truck race results, driver points

Bristol Truck race results
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Sam Mayer scored his first career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win Thursday night. The 17-year-old finished ahead of GMS Racing teammate Brett Moffitt.

Mayer is the youngest driver to win a Truck race at Bristol.

Tanner Gray placed third and was followed by Parker Kligerman and Chandler Smith.

Gray’s finished tied a career high. Kligerman’s finish was his best this season.

Trevor Bayne crossed the finish line fifth but his truck was disqualified for failing post-race heights in inspection.

The next race in the playoffs is Sept. 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Click here for race results

POINTS

Brett Moffitt leads the points after the opening race in the first round of the playoffs. He leads Sheldon Creed by nine points. Zane Smith trails Moffitt by 12 points.

Click here for points report

17-year-old Sam Mayer wins first NASCAR Truck race

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Sam Mayer passed GMS Racing teammate Brett Moffitt with 30 laps to go and went on to score his first career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win Thursday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The victory came in the seventh career Truck start for the 17-year-old Mayer. The win also came a few days after JR Motorsports announced that Mayer would drive for the team in the second half of the 2021 Xfinity Series, once he turns 18.

“I love this place,” Mayer told FS1 after the 200-lap race. “I don’t know what to say.”

Mayer was helped by having tires that were 52 laps fresher than Moffitt’s tires.

MORE: Race results 

Mayer is not competing in the playoffs and does not advance to the second round. He said he has two more Truck races left to run this season.

Mayer followed his Truck win by taking the checkered flag in the ARCA Menards Series race that followed Thursday night.

Moffitt, who is competing in the playoffs, finished second. He was followed by Tanner Gray and Parker Kligerman.

Trevor Bayne finished fifth but his Truck was disqualified after the race for failing inspection. His truck failed post-race heights. Chandler Smith finished fifth after Bayne’s disqualification.

Moffitt was one of only four playoff drivers to finish in the top 10. Grant Enfinger was sixth. Tyler Ankrum placed seventh. Matt Crafton was 10th.

Mayer is the second youngest winner in series history. Cole Custer is the youngest winner in series history. Custer was 16 years, 7 months, 28 days when he won in Sept. 2014 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Mayer becomes the youngest Truck winner at Bristol at 17 years, 2 months, 22 days. Ryan Blaney had held that record, winning a 2015 race there at age 21 years, 4 months, 19 days.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Brett Moffitt

STAGE 2 WINNER: Tyler Ankrum

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Tanner Gray’s third-place finish tied his career best. He finished third at Michigan earlier this season. … Parker Kligerman’s fourth-place finish is his best of the season while running a limited schedule.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Austin Hill finished 26th, worst among the playoff drivers. He had contact on Lap 2 with Stewart Friesen.

NOTABLE: Trevor Bayne said that four weeks ago he didn’t know if he would be racing again at Bristol. He crossed the finish line fifth but his truck failed inspection after the race and was disqualified.

NEXT: The second race of the opening round of the playoffs is at 9 p.m. ET Sept. 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Texas Motor Speedway to host polling site for election

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Residents and race fans in parts of North Texas will be able to cast their vote in the upcoming election at their local NASCAR track.

Texas Motor Speedway will be a polling site for the Nov. 3 election.

The track, owned by Speedway Motorsports, will serve as a polling site for the residents of Precinct 4048. That precinct includes a large portion of Denton County and Forth Worth, Texas.

The polling site will be in the Lone Star Tower Condominium Clubhouse just outside Turn 2. It will be open from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET on election day.

More: Upcoming Cup playoffs races can fans attend

“In anticipation of a very high voter turnout for the presidential election, we have been working for months to acquire polling sites throughout the county,” Frank Phillips, Denton County Elections Administrator, said in a press release. “We are excited that Texas Motor Speedway has offered the use of the Lone Star Tower Clubhouse as a polling site.”

Local, state and CDC guidelines will be followed to ensure a sanitized, safe and socially distanced voter experience.

TMS is the first track that hosts NASCAR Cup races to announce its plans for use as a polling site. It joins sporting venues for other major sports in doing so.

A number of NBA arenas and practice facilities will be voting locations, as well as select NFL stadiums and NHL arenas.

Travis Pastrana, Conor Daly set for Las Vegas Truck Series race

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Action sports star Travis Pastrana and IndyCar driver Conor Daly are teaming up with Niece Motorsports to compete in the upcoming Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

With the backing of iRacing, who made the announcement Thursday, the duo will drive the No. 42 and No. 45 Chevrolets in the Sept. 25 race.

Pastrana and Daly’s involvement is a continuation of their rivalry in the LCQ League, a private iRacing league featuring motorsports and action sports legends having fun in cars from all disciplines.

For Pastrana, a former Roush Fenway Racing driver, it will be his fifth career Truck start and his second of the year after he competed in the July 25 race at Kansas Speedway. He finished 22nd.

“I’m really looking forward to bringing our rivalry from the LCQ League to the real world,” Pastrana said in a press release. “We’ve been getting lots of advice and iRacing on-track coaching from fellow LCQ member Parker Kligerman. I’m looking forward to seeing how the hours in iRacing pay off on the track, especially for Conor who has never driven a NASCAR truck in real life. He might be the first person in history to jump into a professional racing series and take the green flag without so much as a single practice lap in real life! Conor is a phenomenal IndyCar driver and a quick learner so I think he will surprise a lot of people.”

It will be the first Truck Series start for Daly, who has 61 IndyCar starts since 2013. Daly made his NASCAR debut in 2018 at Road America driving for Roush in the Xfinity Series.

“I could not be more excited to jump in a Gander Outdoor Series truck for the first time ever in Las Vegas!” Daly said in a press release “This will be one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever faced in my career as it will be the first event I’ve ever done where I’ve never driven a single lap in the Chevy Silverado before taking the green flag for the race. Travis and I have been going head to head on iRacing getting as much practice as possible since that’s the best possible form of preparation we have!