By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Martin Truex, Jr. had a eventful Saturday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway, finishing third in the FireKeepers Casino 400.
The most notable highlight of Truex’s race-extended 161 laps took place on Lap 21 when a backstretch battle between rookie Tyler Reddick went wrong as contact between the two resulted Truex to have a flat tire and went off the pace in Turn 3.
Truex was able to keep the No. 19 Auto Owners Insurance Toyota Camry off the wall, but was required to make an unscheduled pit stop.
After the race, Truex admitted it was his own wrongdoing over the incident as Reddick ultimately ended up 18th.
“I just made a little mistake there and barely rubbed the 8 (Tyler Reddick) car off (turn) two there and I guess cut both of our tires down,” said Truex. “I really don’t know how it happened. My bad on that one. I hate it for Tyler, it messed up his day early as well.”
Late cautions and restart decision makings galore would ultimately propel the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion into a strong running position and when the dust settled, he scored his third straight third place finish for his sixth top-five of 2020.
“We had a top-three or four car all day. I felt like at one point we were really, really fast,” Truex on his afternoon following the flat tire. “Just fought track position with coming from the back and then those restarts at the end, you always hope you pick the right lane. A few times we did the right one and a few times we didn’t. All in all, just a solid day.”
Going into tomorrow’s Consumers Energy 400, Truex hopes his Joe Gibbs Racing Camry continues hitting its stride, but with the choose rule that was implemented for the first time in a points paying Cup race, it’s added an interesting mix into the championship campaign.
“It’s interesting for sure. The ‘choose rule’ is cool. It gives us an option,” Truex on the rule. “The hard part is that you’re still at the mercy of the other guys around you. Sometimes it’s a little bit of luck whether you pick the right one or not. All in all, it didn’t really change the whole race around that much.”
Due to the top-20 finishers being inverted, Truex will roll off 18th barring any pre-race inspection issues.
“I feel really good about our car,” Truex’s thoughts for the second 156-lap race. “I think we can do a few things to make it better, but honestly, it’s really fast. If we could get a little bit faster in the straightaways without slowing the corners down, they’ll have to watch out for us tomorrow.”