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NASCAR Cup Nashville

Truex "burned the rear tires off" trying to catch Chastain

Martin Truex Jr. has been the top performing NASCAR Cup driver for nearly two months and found himself in contention for another victory Sunday at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway.

Martin Truex Jr, Joe Gibbs Racing, Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry

Truex, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin and race winner Ross Chastain dominated the front of the field on Sunday, but it was Truex who worked feverishly in the final 50 laps trying to catch Chastain.

With no cautions in the final stage to bunch the field, Truex was on his own as he tried to reclaim the lead from Chastain and got close several times. With no opportunity to pit for new tires, however, Truex ran out of time and was forced to settle as runner-up.

Truex does remain the series points leader and has finished worse than eighth just once in the last seven races.

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“Just needed to get the lead (again). Once we lost it, I probably made a bad move taking the bottom (lane) on a restart,” Truex said after the race. “Just too loose in the long runs.

“I could hang with whoever was leading. Just could never get off the corner good enough to get a move. Just lacking side bite. Overall, just burned the rear tires off too much.

“Just needed a little bit. Got lots of speed. Just could never get the balance where it needed to be. If we can keep doing this, we will be in good shape.”

Truex was in position to capture the Stage 2 win but had its momentum slowed as a caution came out in the middle of green flag pit stops when Tyler Reddick had a wheel come off his No. 45 Toyota.

He then ended up battling his teammate Hamlin for the lead, lost it and could never get it back.

“I was disappointed not to get the stage win there. We had it wrapped up until the tire got away on (Reddick’s car). That's how these things play out,” Truex said.

“We weren’t quite good enough to take the lead. That was our issue, burning the tires off too much, getting too loose in the long runs."

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