Two of Martin Truex Jr.’s three wins this season have come after a hard-fought battle with the driver who had him fuming at the end of the 2018 season.
Truex has now bested Joey Logano at Richmond and Charlotte Motor Speedway. At Richmond, Truex broke through for the first time this season, and spoke afterward of being raced respectfully by Logano. Sunday night, he won his second Coca-Cola 600 after holding off Logano before the race’s final caution flew on Lap 392 and then when the race restarted and they drove back to the top two spots with five laps to go.
“I think he’s a tough competitor, a guy that’s tough to beat,” Truex said of Logano. “He’s always up front. So yeah, he’s a great driver, and him and his team do a great job of being in position to win races. Those are the kind of guys you like to beat, so it feels good to win against him.”
Asked if he and Truex raced each other hard but fair, Logano replied, “Yeah, of course. Haven’t we every time?”
Truex didn’t believe so last fall when Logano moved him on the final lap at Martinsville for the win. In doing so, Logano clinched his spot in the title race, while Truex felt he wasn’t raced as clean as he had treated Logano when trying to take the lead from him for several laps beforehand.
On the final restart in Charlotte, it was Truex third and Logano sixth. Truex made it four-wide on the backstretch between David Ragan, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Newman, eventually getting to the inside and then clearing Ragan off Turn 4. But coming with him was Logano, who had such a run on Truex that he got into his back bumper and pushed the No. 19 Toyota down the frontstretch.
“I didn’t feel the rear tires on the ground, I’ll tell you that much,” Truex said of the restart. “Just trying to hold it straight and not let him get to my inside going into (Turn) 1, so that’s kind of what I was trying to do.”
Truex drove away over the next few laps for the win.
“Man, what a race,” he said. “Up and down, you never know what can happen in these things, and we were so good early on, blew that tire, hit the fence, and I’m like, we’re done. How are we going to fix this year? I didn’t know how bad it was. But the guys worked hard, fixed it up.”