CONCORD, N.C. – Although he’s second in points, Martin Truex Jr. will not compete in Saturday’s Sprint All-Star Race after he failed to win either segment in Friday night’s Sprint Showdown and the Sprint Fan Vote.
Because he didn’t win a points race last year and hasn’t won a points race this year, Truex needed to advance through the Sprint Showdown for the All-Star race.
He started Friday’s opening segment seventh but couldn’t gain ground as Greg Biffle won. Truex was among four teams that took only two tires between segments but couldn’t hold off a charging Clint Bowyer, who had four fresh tires.
Truex was slowed as he battled Kyle Larson for the lead early in the final segment. That allowed Bowyer to catch them and go three wide. Bowyer got by and went on to win, while Truex finished third in that segment.
“Once you get a guy on the outside and two tires, the car just won’t hold,’’ Truex said. “I tried. If I just could have cleared (Larson), I’d have had at least a fighting chance. With him on the outside, I was in trouble. I’m surprised that we all didn’t crash.
“I knew (Bowyer) had four tires, and his car was strong the first run. I was doing all I could to get (Larson). The further out I would get, the tighter he would get on me and the looser I would get. He was doing what he had to do to try to get around me.
Truex said clean air was pivotal.
“In the first (segment), I was a lot better than (Larson) ahead of me,’’ Truex said. “I’d run him down, and I’d get to him, and I’d lose 10 car lengths. Every time I’d get to him, I’d lose the nose and lose a bunch of time. The outside groove wouldn’t come in for some reason. This place is weird like that.’’
Truex’s last bid to make the All-Star Race was via the fan vote, but Danica Patrick won that, leaving Truex without a spot in Saturday night’s race. Truex finished second in the balloting.