By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Martin Truex Jr’s impressive resume has one glaring omission: a short track win. After a late race crash in Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol, the drought continues for the 2017 Monster Energy Cup Series champion.
Truex found himself in position to finally break through, running in second-place with less than 100 laps to go, but contact from Kyle Busch off of Turn 4 sent Truex’s Toyota spinning into the inside wall on the frontstretch. He then bounced back into traffic and collected JJ Yeley in the process.
The damage was too severe for Truex to continue as he limped his way to pit road and then kicked his car in anger after getting out of it. As a result of the crash, Truex would finish the night in 30th place.
“It’s just Bristol,” said Truex. “Trying to get that first short track win. This place has been so hard on us. I mean I can’t even explain it to you how good we’ve run here in the past three or four years and crap like this every single time. It’s like just one thing after another. Sucks that it happened, but at the end of the day it’s racing at Bristol.”
While Truex took the diplomatic approach, his girlfriend Sherry Pollex took to Twitter to express her frustration with the incident.
Omg I can’t believe that just happened. Kyle Busch is a moron
— Sherry Pollex (@SherryPollex) August 19, 2018
After the race, Busch did apologize for the contact that sent Truex around.
“Totally my fault, man, I feel terrible about that,” Busch said. “Obviously I just misjudged it by a little bit – four inches, six inches, whatever and I got in the gas and was coming up off the corner and was going to slide in behind him (Martin Truex Jr.) and I didn’t think I was next to him yet and I clipped him and sent him for a whale of a ride. Hopefully, he’s alright and everything is okay there. I hated that I clipped him, I know he could have had a good shot to win the race too.”
The night started off on the wrong foot for the No. 78 team as Truex was involved in the lap 2 multi-car crash, but they buckled down and battled their way back to 21st at the end of the first stage and 11th at the end of the second.
From there, Truex worked his way through the field and battled with Clint Bowyer for the lead inside of 100 laps to go before the incident with Busch.
“I probably should’ve bumped the 14 (Clint Bowyer) out of the way just to get the lead and I wouldn’t have been in that position. Sometimes you’re the nice guy and you get knocked out of the way. We’ll just have to race him a little harder next time.”
Despite the poor finish on Saturday night, Truex is locked into the playoffs as a result of his three wins and will look to score a second career Darlington win when the Cup Series returns to the track for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 in two weeks.