“I was mad, of course,” Truex told NBCSN during a morning practice session that was canceled by rain. “It’s natural. It’s human to get mad in situations like that. That was a big race. That was a big day. We put so much effort into that and there were so many things surrounding that race that made it special to me and reasons that I wanted to win, mostly for my guys and the effort they put in, so yea, I was mad about the outcome and the way it went down.
“I was not mad at all, and I think people got the wrong impression, I was not mad at all about Jimmie trying to win. That’s his job. That’s what we all try to do every single weekend. He was trying to win the race. I get that.
“I was mad that he screwed up. I told him. I said, ‘I give you a lane,’ I got tight in Turn 4, NASCAR Turn 4 (on the oval). I was like, well I’m not going to slow down and block him, brake check him, whatever. I’m going to give him the inside lane because I don’t want him on my right side because if I give him the right side, he’s probably going to clean me out. I gave myself the best opportunity to win.”
Instead, Johnson locked his brakes entering the final chicane, spun and then made contact with Truex. Instead of winning – and scoring five playoff points – Truex finished 14th. Johnson fell from second to eighth and then was eliminated from title contention when Kyle Larson passed the stalled car of Jeffrey Earnhardt‘s less than 100 yards from the finish line. That put Larson, Aric Almirola and Johnson into a three-way tie for the final two playoff spots. Larson and Almirola advanced via the tiebreaker (best result in that round).
Friday, Johnson said that he would have done the same thing but made a couple of changes.