NASCAR: Martin Truex Jr. Sees Richmond P4 Finish as a ‘Big Step in the Right Direction’

by Chase Thomas
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Sports is not all about wins and losses. Sometimes, it’s about progress. Getting better each day. For NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr., he sees his Richmond finish as “a big step in the right direction from Phoenix.” In a post-race interview, Truex Jr. was asked about the different strategies involved in races and he answered honestly about where is he at after the race. He said, “At the end I think we just tried to gamble … on beating the 24. He ended up trying to do our strategy, which we both screwed up.” Strategy is everything in life and in racing. Truex Jr. ended up using the same strategy as William Byron in the No. 24 car. However, it did not work out for both on Sunday afternoon.

“He added, I think we had the best car, but it doesn’t matter,” Truex Jr. added. Sometimes, though, this is how that goes. Even if you have the best car on any given Sunday, other factors are at play. Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin took a different route with their tire changes than Truex Jr. and Byron. It was a risk for both, but that’s the nature of the sport.

Like fellow NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr. in Richmond, Harvick felt good about his race on Sunday. Unlike Truex Jr., he ran with a strategy that was ultimately the right call. He said, “Had a shot there at the end.” It would have been Harvick’s first NASCAR Cup Series victory in 2022. He came within .0552 seconds of making it happen. Harvick made the same play the winner, Denny Hamlin made. He added, “I wanted to be close enough with the white to just take a swipe at him. Yeah, the lapped cars there kind of got in the way and I lost a little bit of ground.” So it goes sometimes in racing.

Truex Jr. was not the only driver who thought he had the best car on Sunday afternoon. Hamlin, who won the race in the area that he is indeed from, said, “There was no doubt in my mind, maybe just a little, but they got this car right there towards the end. Wow, unbelievable.” It was Hamlin’s first NASCAR Cup Series victory on Sunday afternoon. With five laps to go, Hamlin made a run for it and passed Byron to snag his first checkered flag in 2022.

Hendrick Motorsports were well on their way to another victory with Byron leading late. However, it was not to be, as Hamlin took home the checkered flag in the feel-good story of the weekend for the NASCAR veteran. Still, Truex Jr. competed hard and competed well. Like he said, the team is moving in the right direction.