While fans of Austin Dillon celebrate, fans of Martin Truex Jr., and the NASCAR driver himself, will be wondering what could have been. When a former champion misses out on the playoffs, it’s a bit of a letdown. When it happens by only three points — well that’s a pill that’s hard to swallow.
We’ve seen drivers in the past catch fire right in time for a strong 10 races to end the year. However, Truex won’t get his chance to compete for that Bill France Cup.
After finishing P8 at Daytona, Truex will be wondering what he could have done differently. He had a chance to come in and overtake Ryan Blaney in the points standings, he even had a chance to take a checkered flag. Things just didn’t work out for the No. 19 Toyota in the end.
“Just not fast enough to keep up with those guys. Got the restart we needed and got in a decent spot there, just couldn’t keep up. Was wide open that whole last run there. It’s a shame, it stinks. Just too much damage to have enough speed to do what we needed to do.
“It is, hindsight is always 20/20. We gave away plenty of points throughout the season. It is what it is.”
It’s hard to really tell what the driver feels behind those glasses. However, you can imagine it isn’t a great feeling.
Martin Truex Jr. Won’t Sugar Coat Anything
This race was supposed to happen on Saturday night. It didn’t because of rain. Then there was an early-morning start coupled with more bad weather and delays. We had almost three and a half hours of delay today once the rain came down and that massive wreck collected most of the field.
Martin Truex Jr. survived it. His Camry TRD just didn’t have it in it today.
“It sucks, no way of sugar-coating it. You’re racing your ass off all year and you work hard and you try to do all the things it takes and you come up three points short – it’s pretty tough to swallow when I know we can do something in the playoffs.”
He didn’t have emotions coming into the race. The 2017 champ is beyond all of that.
“No emotions. Just come here and race, just another race. Come here and try to get it done and we did our best. It wasn’t enough today.”
There are still 10 races left on the schedule for Truex, though. And he’s going to be competing for checkered flags the whole way through. A tough weekend for this team. The other side of the coin to the joy that Austin Dillon and his team are feeling.