NSCS: Truex overcomes adversity to advance in Chase

Martin Truex Jr.’s team neglected to tell the driver about a change in qualifying procedure for Sunday’s race at Talladega—and it almost cost him a spot in the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

NASCAR had informed its teams that dipping below the yellow line coming to the finish was no longer allowed during time trials. Unaware of the change, Truex did just that. As a result his qualifying time was disallowed, and Truex started dead last in Sunday’s CampingWorld.com 500.

After a slow green-flag pit stop, Truex lost contact with the main draft and eventually lost a lap, which he didn’t regain until he got a “lucky dog” as the highest scored lapped car under the races first caution (Lap 132).

Back on the lead lap, Truex survived the chaos at the end of the race and finished seventh, advancing to the Eliminator Round of the Chase with 12 points to spare.

“I felt like I was on the seesaw today,” Truex said after the race. “It’s crazy how fast things can change and how much is out of your control. We were sitting out there riding a lap down for about 100 laps, thinking that we were going to need an act of God to get back on the lead lap and have a fighting chance. We kept fighting and fighting, and had a good sequence of green-flag stops to establish ourselves in that front single-file line ahead of the guys we were racing.

“Then we got lucky and got a caution. Once we were back in the game, we felt good about it. But it was still nerve-wracking down to the end. The first (aborted attempt at a green-white-checkered), I spun the 48 slap out in front of me, and I was never on the gas pedal. I was on the brake as hard as I could without locking up the front tires. I was getting hit over and over. The 48 got spun and luckily we didn’t get spun out, or our day would have been over.”