Martin Truex Jr. will start from rear at Roval after engine change

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CONCORD, N.C. – Martin Truex Jr. will start from the rear of Sunday’s Cup race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval after having to change engines during final practice Saturday.

The engine change was necessary after Truex accidentally shifted from second to first gear while driving through Turns 1 and 2 of the oval portion of the track.

Truex was fastest on the speed chart at the time of the incident.

Truex enters this weekend having won the first two playoff races and is considered a favorite to win Sunday. He was one turn away from winning this race last year before contact with Jimmie Johnson spun him and gave the win to Ryan Blaney.

“Fortunately, we don’t have a whole lot to worry about, it’s just frustrating,” Truex told NBCSN. “We had a good car, we had a good qualifying effort yesterday (eighth). It’s going to be hard to start from the back and hate all the extra work from for my guys. I apologize to them. I’m not sure how it happened.

“I had one other issue today with a shift in the gate. I don’t know if it was just an issue that was right there on the edge and I just screwed it up a little bit that one time, but we’ll have to look at it a little bit further.”

Truex will join teammate Denny Hamlin in starting from the rear. Hamlin will go to the back after going to a backup car following a wreck in practice Friday.