TALLADEGA, Ala. — Martin Truex Jr. knows Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway could have been worse because of a mechanical issue that made his car “evil to drive.”
The result is that Truex, one of the members of the Big 3 that has dominated the series this season, holds the final transfer spot entering next weekend’s cutoff race at Kansas Speedway.
With an issue in the rear gear, Truex said he fought the car most of the race.
“Couldn’t even go straight,” he said after finishing 23rd. “There was no chance of me getting up there and racing as much as I wanted to.
“I rode around all day broke, hanging on, miserable. I couldn’t even race, my car was so screwed up. It felt like the rear end housing was falling out of it.”
The struggles had him in a spot late in the race where he would have been outside the cutoff spot heading to Kansas.
Truex’s fortune changed when some playoff drivers, including Brad Keselowski, had to pit for fuel in overtime and gave up several spots.
Instead of being outside the cutoff, Truex enters Kansas in the final transfer spot and has an 18-point lead on Keselowski and a 22-point lead on Ryan Blaney.
Truex won at Kansas last fall and finished second there in May.
“I think that’s a good place for us even if we had to win,” Truex said. “I am not saying we’re going to go there and win. But anytime we can go to any of those tracks, I feel like we have a shot. It’s racing. A lot can happen as we saw today. We’ll give it everything we got and bring a great car to Kansas. We’ll try to get the checkered flag.”