Martin Truex Jr. ‘really surprised’ by Richmond runner-up finish

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Martin Truex Jr. was not too bothered Saturday night that he was unable to win his fifth consecutive Cup race in the state of Virginia

Truex was too busy being “really surprised” that he finished runner-up to Brad Keselowski in the playoff race at Richmond Raceway.

“It was slow on the short run early and slow on the long run late,” Truex told NBCSN. “Somewhere in between we would be pretty competitive, but we just never could really put it all together. I was really surprised that we ran second with how it felt early in the race. I was like, ‘Oh boy, this is going to be a long night.'”

A week after he finished 22nd in the Southern 500 following late-race contact with Chase Elliott battling for the win, Truex started 14th at the .75-mile track.

He placed seventh in the first stage and third in the second stage despite missing pit road on Lap 160 and having to pit the next lap.

After Truex led more than 100 laps in the last five Richmond races, he never took the point in Saturday night’s race while Keselowski led 192 of 400 laps.

“Obviously, quite a different deal with this tire,” Truex said. “It felt a lot different to me and the things that were really good the past few years, I couldn’t do them. Needed a little practice time, maybe needed another stab at it. Overall, obviously solid day for our Bass Pro Toyota Camry. Thanks to everybody who helps us and makes this possible and all the guys at the shop. It was a good rebound week. Obviously, want to win every one of them, but if we can run top two or three every week like we’ve been for a while now, we’ll be where we want to be.”

Truex has finished in the top three in eight of the last 10 races. However, none of those results include race wins. His lone victory this season came at Martinsville in June.

“We’re strong,” Truex said. “I feel like we’re executing well and we’re not making mistakes like we did early in the season, aside from last weekend (with Elliott) obviously on the race track, but that was me, not the team. Just solid every week. Fast race cars and everybody is making good decisions. Hopefully, we can keep putting ourselves in the front and we’ll win some races eventually.”