Martin Truex Jr. was unhappy after a late caution derailed his chance at winning Saturday’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway.
Truex was leading with three laps to go when the caution was brought out by Derrike Cope washing up the track and scraping the wall. There was no major damage in the accident. Cope continued on and finished 36th, 16 laps off the lead.
The caution resulted in an overtime finish and Truex being accidentally wrecked by Denny Hamlin in Turn 1 after taking the white flag.
Truex finished 20th after leading 198 laps.
“Yeah, I mean, I just don’t agree with the caution,” Truex told NBCSN. “I think it’s ridiculous that, again, there’s a guy out there that shouldn’t even be out there, 20 some laps down, riding around.
“As slow as he is, he can’t even hold his damn line. It’s ridiculous. He scrapes the wall, they throw a caution with (three) to go. That’s not what racing should be.
“I’m mad about that. But I have to go back and watch the tape, see how it exactly played out. I’m madder about all that than I am about losing. Just a hard way to lose ’em.”
Had the race continued on without a caution, Truex likely would have won his fifth race of the year and earned another five playoff points. He enters the playoffs with 53 playoff points and the regular-season title.
“I don’t even think (Cope) makes minimum speed, and really doesn’t even belong out there,” Truex said later in the media center. “I don’t know if he apparently scraped the wall a few times, and I don’t know, couldn’t stay in the racetrack as slow as he was going. It’s unfortunate they threw a caution for that, and I don’t know if it should have been thrown or not.
“I just think that’s ridiculous that a guy could cause a caution with (three laps) to go as bad as he’s running and just riding around there basically just making laps. Yeah, it’s pretty dumb.”