A multicar incident just short of the halfway point in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 resulted in a 34th-place finish for Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/NRA Museum Toyota Camry at Daytona International Speedway.
The Furniture Row Racing entry was one of 10 cars caught up in the Lap 72 melee in Turn 2 during the 160-lap race on the 2.5-mile high-banked superspeedway.
Despite the early exit, Truex and the No. 78 team remained second in driver points, 18 markers behind Kyle Larson.
“I just tried to slow down, but you know you get hit from behind, you hit the guy in front of you – there’s nothing you can do,” said Truex Jr. “When you’re going 190-something and everybody stops in front of you, it’s kind of hard to do anything. Unfortunate night for sure for our Bass Pro Shops/NRA Museum Toyota. This July race, man, I don’t think I’ve finished it in like five years. It’s just – it’s been a tough one every time. Every time we feel like we’re doing something okay we get in a big wreck, so it’s been a tough one for sure but we’ll rebound and go to Kentucky and hopefully go for some more wins.”
Truex dealt with handling issues on the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/NRA Museum Toyota Camry during the first stage, resulting in a 29th-place showing after 40 laps. With adjustments made during the break, however, he was up to 22nd by Lap 49 and 18th by Lap 64.
The negative effects of pack racing on a superspeedway played out just eight laps later. Hit from behind in Turn 2, Truex then made contact with the car in front of him and the accordion effect eventually gathered up a total of 10 cars.
Repairs were made on pit road to make another lap under caution but, on pit lane for further repairs, NASCAR informed crew chief Cole Pearn his driver was to pull into the garage, his race over.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!