Martin Truex Jr. has to be wondering what he ever did to the Richmond Raceway. Richmond was the spot that started his downward spiral in NASCAR. It was the site that he thought at the time that he raced his way into the playoffs, only to be taken back out, when it was deemed that his then Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Clint Bowyer purposely brought out a late caution flag which helped aid in Truex making it into NASCAR’s postseason. In the aftermath of that, Truex would get taken out the playoffs in favor for Jeff Gordon, which in turn cost Truex his sponsor and eventually his ride at the end of the year too.
He’d end up making up for that nicely though in his new ride with Furniture Row Racing. But, for some reason, Richmond still haunts him.
For the third time in his last four Richmond starts, Truex led the most laps but didn’t win. Truex, led a race high 121 out of the 402 laps in Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400, but finished 14th. He was well in command of the race until a late race battle with Kyle Busch. Unfortunately, after taking the lead, a caution would fly and the leaders would hit pit road. They’d have a terrible stop and he’d restart near the end of the top 10.
He’d never make up for it.
But, just last fall, Truex led 198 out of the 404 laps and was even leading when coming to the white flag, but unfortunately, Derrike Cope crashed out before he took the flag. The leaders would pit again, and on the ensuing restart, he’d get crashed by Denny Hamlin. He’d finish 20th.
Then, in the 2016 fall race, Truex led 193 out of the 407 laps, but could only finish third. That’s his lone top five still since the spring race in 2008.
Now, he heads to Talladega on the heels of three straight finishes outside the top 10. Two of which were 30th or worse.