Martin Truex Jr. didn’t like what he saw from race leader Joey Logano on the overtime restart at Michigan International Speedway on Monday.
Truex, who restarted second on the inside of the Team Penske driver, accused Logano of jumping “a whole car length before the restart zone” as the field took the green.
“I don’t know how you get away with that,” Truex said after he finished third to Logano and Kurt Busch. “I thought we were supposed to go in the box.”
Truex, who earned his seventh top-three finish at Michigan, added, “I guess they don’t enforce those rules anymore. We’ll have to remember that for next time.”
The accusation is the latest chapter in the Truex-Logano rivalry, which began last year in the playoffs at Martinsville Speedway and Miami and has taken center stage this year with late-race battles at Richmond, Charlotte and again Monday in Michigan.
When asked by Jeff Gordon on FS1 about the restart, Logano replied, “I don’t know what I did” with a laugh.
Logano also said, “I did it when I got there (to the restart zone). That was a good start wasn’t it? That was a good one. That one felt good.”
Truex did admit his “second gear was off a little bit all day” on restarts.
Truex’s third-place finish continued a roller-coaster stretch for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.
In the last seven races, Truex has three wins in addition to his result on Monday. But when not finishing in the top five, he’s had results of 19th (Talladega), 20th (Kansas) and 35th (Pocono, DNF – engine)
But in a race where Logano led 163 of 203 laps, Truex though he was “going to finish second no matter what” before the overtime finish bunched the field back up.
“I don’t know if we could have done anything with (Logano),” Truex said. “We were going to need one heck of a push from behind – a shove down the straightaway. I could get a little bit of a run but never enough to get next to him and surely not enough to get next to him and clear him getting in the corner.
“His car was really good. They were really fast obviously qualifying first and then as good as they raced. Hats off to those guys. I thought we’d rack them up there, you know green-white-checkered. I thought ‘Hey, maybe we do have a shot at this thing’ and then he jumped the restart by over a car length.”