Motorsport News

Overtime Has Not Been Kind to Martin Truex Jr.

2024 Cup Richmond I pack racing II - Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (Credit: NKP)

For Martin Truex Jr., the No. 19 team and all of Truex’s fans, Easter Sunday’s (March 31) Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway was the gut punch of all gut punches.

Truex led 228 laps and had the race won in the closing laps, as second-place Joey Logano was too far behind to make a move with just under three laps to go. The entire final stage had run green from start to finish, and all Truex had to do was reach the white flag to put it away.

But in a cruel twist of fate, after 159 laps of green-flag racing, the yellow flag was displayed with two laps to go for Kyle Larson‘s spin — just a half lap short of Truex ending the race.

What followed?

A slow pit stop put Denny Hamlin in control of the race, a controversial final restart where Hamlin appeared to hit the gas before the restart line, contact between the Nos. 11 and 19 cars that sent Hamlin to the front for the final lap, and a door slam that Truex gave to Larson on the backstretch while racing for third on the final lap.

The post-race turned into a kerfuffle, as Larson and Truex walled each other across the finish line. And as Hamlin was running his cool-down lap, Truex proceeded to give the No. 11 car an unfriendly slam in the rear.

I can’t blame Truex for being mad about how the finish went down, even if he went overboard in playing bumper cars at the end.

But it shows how brutal of a loss it was since it’s been six years since he last showed fireworks on the cooldown lap — that last time was at the inaugural race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL in 2018, where Truex spun Jimmie Johnson on the cooldown lap after Johnson spun into Truex on the last lap, who was one turn away from winning the race.

It’s not a secret that Truex and overtime haven’t been the best of friends. Of Truex’s 34 NASCAR Cup Series wins, only three were won in overtime.

Three-for-34 may not seem like that bad of a clip, but of all the Cup races that have reached the scheduled distance since overtime was implemented in the middle of 2004, 22.2% (153 out of 688) have ended in overtime.

That 22.2% would mathematically give Truex between seven or eight overtime wins in his career, so having only three is a bit of an outlier. That outlier becomes more apparent when looking at Truex’s peers and how many races they’ve won in the overtime era:

Driver Overtime Wins Total Wins %

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