BRISTOL, Tenn. — Martin Truex Jr. rallied to an eighth-place finish after being busted for speeding with less than 40 laps remaining in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
A two-car wreck brought out the final caution with 37 laps to go. Kevin Harvick opted not to pit and assumed the lead. Truex exited pit road first and would’ve restarted second, but was penalized for short-cutting the radius of Turns 3 and 4 on the apron, which NASCAR rules as speeding per their time over distance formula, and restarted from the tail-end of the field on the ensuing restart.
In the final 32 laps, he worked his way up to eighth in the running order and settled for eighth in the final finishing order.
“We were going for it, I wish we could have had a shot there just to see if we could have won,” said Truex.
“This is the best run we’ve had here in a long time. It’s bittersweet, I wish we could have seen if we could have beat the 48 (Jimmie Johnson). We were close there before that last caution, but it is what it is and you try to get what you can get and sometimes you cross the line and today we crossed the line. All in all, it was an awesome day and a lot of fun.”
He was helped by the fact that only 16 cars were on the lead lap for the final restart.
It was a black mark on an otherwise excellent day for the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota. He led 116 laps, second to Kyle Larson for most in the race, finished second to Larson in the first stage and won the second stage.
He leaves Bristol third in points, trailing Larson by 37 points, but maintains a three-point advantage over him in playoff point accumulation.