“He may’ve won the battle. He ain’t winning the damn war.”
It doesn’t matter what sport, or what occupation, one may have. That statement is considered fighting words. Those are the words that Martin Truex Jr. spoke after a battle with Joey Logano at the end of Martinsville. A battle that was intense, right up to the very end.
So why exactly was Truex upset…it was pretty clear.
For about seven laps, he had position on Logano to get the lead, but couldn’t make the pass. He ran him hard, pushing him into making a mistake, but he never did. When the opportunity finally came on the final lap, exiting the second corner, Truex had the lead.
That entire battle he raced hard, but fair. Come the final two corners, Logano pushed, and got under Truex’s Toyota, and they rubbed fenders.
They bounced off each other’s cars, both sideways. Logano wasn’t completely under control, but was sideways long enough to hold onto the victory. Truex stayed sideways, ultimately finishing third as Denny Hamlin slid past to pick up the runner-up position.
Had this happened on the backstretch, Hamlin likely would be the winner. Instead, Logano celebrated, got a chorus of boos from the crowd, appropriate for it being Halloween weekend, and Truex sat by his car giving the signal that he didn’t agree with the way it ended. Truex felt he ran hard, but ran him clean. And even admitted he ran him that way all race, and expected it to be a great battle in the end, but not one that included some bent fenders, scuffed tires, and some anger.
However, Truex did make a declaration at the very end of the interview.
“He ain’t gonna win it.” Then when asked why, he made it even clearer, by stating, “Cause I’m gonna win it.”
The gauntlet is thrown down now. The battle for the championship now is even more intense than ever. Let’s get it on!
STAGE 1: Denny Hamlin
STAGE 2: Joey Logano
RESULTS: 1-Logano 2-Hamlin 3-Truex Jr. 4-Kyle Busch 5-Keselowski 6-Kurt Busch 7-Elliott 8-Newman 9-Suarez 10-Harvick
NOTABLE FINISHES: 11-Almirola 12-Johnson 21-Bowyer
CAUTIONS: 8 for 68 laps. Lap 44-49 (#51 Incident-T2); 72-76 (#20 and 48 Spin-T3); 132-139 (Stage 1 Conclusion); 262-269 (Stage 2 Conclusion); 367-373 (#24 Incident-T4); 383-393 (#Fluid on pit road from #66); 398-414 (Fluid in Turn 4 from #42); 458-463 (#14 Spin-T3).
LEAD CHANGES: 11 among 6 drivers. K. Busch 1-30; D. Hamlin 31-44; C. Bowyer 45; K. Busch 46-115; D. Hamlin 116-132; J. Logano 133-359; M. Truex Jr. 360-376; J. Logano 377-418; B. Keselowski 419-459; J. Logano 460-498; M. Truex Jr. 499; J. Logano 500.
TIME OF RACE: 3 Hrs, 29 Mins, 32 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 75.31 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.107 Seconds
PLAYOFF STANDINGS (Earned/Behind Leader [Playoff Points]): 1. Kyle Busch, 4104 ; 2. Truex Jr, -21 ; 3. Harvick, -21 ; 4. Logano*, -30 ; 5. Kurt Busch, -46 ; 6. Elliott, -52 ; 7. Bowyer, -63 ; 8. Almirola, -71 ; 9. Blaney, -1872; 10. Keselowski, -1877; 11. Hamlin, -1891; 12. Larson, -1925; 13. Johnson, -1931; 14. Bowman, -1940; 15. Jones, -1945; 16. Dillon, -1947.
*Locked into Championship Round.