Martin Truex Jr. still isn’t happy about how the last lap at Martinsville Speedway unfolded the last time the series visited the short track. So ahead of his return this weekend for the STP 500 the Joe Gibbs Racing driver said: “It’s redemption time, baby.”
Having hounded Joey Logano for much of the final run in October, Truex made a move for the lead off Turn 2 with two laps to go. He cleared Logano off Turn 2 on the last lap before Logano drove deep into Turn 3 to get to Truex’s bumper and move him up the track. In a wild drag race to the finish line where the two drivers bounced off each other (pictured), Logano prevailed and advanced to the title round.
Truex finished third and was not happy with how he was raced and vowed Logano wouldn’t win the war. The two have not had any additional encounters since.
“I’m fired up to go to Martinsville after the way we ran there last year, the way we’ve been running the last couple seasons,” Truex said Tuesday night on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We keep getting closer and closer and closer.
“Everybody wants that grandfather clock, and I want it bad. I feel like we can do it. So I’m jacked up — I’m fired up ready to go. We came within one turn of getting that thing and we’re going after it. Let’s do it.”
Truex led 18 laps at Martinsville last fall. In the last eight races there he has led a total of 257 laps. However, a short track victory continues to elude him.
In 78 short track starts between Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond, he has 22 top-10 finishes and 1,215 laps led. In recent seasons Truex has run well at all three tracks only to have something bite him late in the going.
Truex has dominated the last three Richmond races only to wind up crashed (in the fall of 2017), suffer a pit road problem (last spring), and then a pit road penalty (last fall). In Bristol, he was wrecked by Kyle Busch while running second.
Going into this weekend, Truex has finished no worse than fourth in the last three Martinsville races.
“I got a spot picked out (for the clock) and I hope I fill it,” Truex said.