Truex says his "screw up" handed Michigan win to Larson

Martin Truex Jr. looked to be in prime position to earn his fifth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win of the season, which would be a career-best.

Truex says his "screw up" handed Michigan win to Larson
Race winner
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota

But before the first turn of the first lap of overtime, the opportunity was gone.

On the restart following a brief red flag, Truex appeared to spin his tires, which allowed Kyle Larson, who lined up fourth and immediately behind Truex, to get by him and take the lead in a three-wide battle with Matt Kenseth.

Red flag hurt restart

Larson held on for his third consecutive victory at Michigan International Speedway.

“We got beat fair and square. That’s the way it goes sometimes,” Truex said after the race. “Double-file restarts are tricky, and I had good restarts all day I felt like.

“We had that red flag for the first time and really I just sat there while I got the tires cold and then only had one lap to come to the green and get some heat back in them. I just struggled getting going, just spun the tires.

“I didn’t really expect it, because I hadn’t had any trouble with that all day.”

A wreck between Paul Menard and Michael McDowell with five laps left in the race set up a two-lap overtime, but there was a slight delay as NASCAR red-flagged the race for nearly six minutes to clean a large amount of oil from the track.

Truex, who won Stage 2 for his series-leading 15th stage victory on the season, said he and his crew chief, Cole Pearn, discussed strategy during the red-flag period.

“You’re just talking a little bit about trying to manage your brakes and all that stuff. Everything is a little different when you have to stop and sit there for a while,” Truex said. “Just have to manage your battery, your volts, and turn all your fans off and all that kind of stuff really is about it.  It’s not really rocket science. 

“Everybody is out there in the same boat trying to sit there and think about, ‘OK, what am I going to do on the restart? How am I going to try to advance my position or win or keep guys behind me, or whatever it is?’ 

“You just think about the situation you’re going to be in on the restart and try to do the best job you can.”

Still on top

Truex continues to lead the series standings with three races remaining in the regular season. He is currently the No. 1 seed in the 16-driver playoffs thanks to his four victories and 35 playoff points.

“I did everything right, it just caught me by surprise, because like I said, I hadn’t spun the tires all day long, did not expect to have an issue with it, and when I did, there was nothing I could do,” Truex said of the final restart.

“I was just helpless, and he had the momentum and did what everybody else would have done. It’s just my screw-up gave him the win basically.”

 

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Larson earns third straight Michigan win with stunning late-race pass

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