Motorsport News

Martin Truex Jr. Has a Rare Meltdown at Richmond

2024 Cup Richmond I side-by-side racing III - Ross Chastain, No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (Credit: NKP)

What Happened?

For the third spring in a row, Martin Truex Jr. looked to be in perfect position to win another race at Richmond Raceway. And for the third straight season, Truex wound up frustrated, as Denny Hamlin stole the victory from his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate in a surprising overtime finish. Joey Logano moved to second, and Truex fell to fourth.

With two laps left, Bubba Wallace made contact with Kyle Larson, spinning the No. 5 into the infield and bringing out the caution. Larson rebounded to third, making contact with an irate Truex on the final lap and after the checkered.

This is Hamlin’s second win of the season, and JGR swept the weekend. Coach Gibbs has won the last three races on Easter Sunday.

What Really Happened?

The oldest driver in the NASCAR Cup Series sits behind the wheel of the No. 19 car, and Truex doesn’t make many mistakes. Sure, we hear him get fired up behind the wheel in radio exchanges. Whether that anger directs toward his team or a lapped car in front of him, Truex rarely allows his emotion to mix into his driving.

The cars looked stuck in the final stage as Truex cruised towards another victory. Pressure from a closing Logano had Truex slightly flustered with the lapped car of Ross Chastain, but with two to go, Truex surely had the race in hand until the late Larson spin occurred.

After the Hamlin crew wrestled the lead away, the ensuing restart held more controversy. It certainly looked like Hamlin jumped the restart. A no-call allowed Hamlin to hold on, while a fuming Truex took his anger out on Larson in a rare moment of general vengeance.

A chain of events that started building pressure two years ago may have played a role in the overtime outburst this Easter Sunday.

As the 2022 spring race wound down at Richmond, Truex trailed William Byron by three seconds with 30 to go. He methodically tracked down Byron, but a surging Hamlin on the two-stop strategy passed them both in the closing laps to win the race.

Last year, Truex again battled Byron after late pit stops. The two ran side-by-side when a caution came out. The only tires left in the Truex pit were scuffs, and Truex dropped in the final laps with a tire disadvantage despite having another car capable of winning Richmond.

In the…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at …