Holding the lead going into the final turns Martin Truex Jr. saw victory snatched from him due to an aggressive move by Jimmie Johnson, who took out Truex near the finish line at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval.
Running second to Truex entering the final turn of the road race, Johnson made a desperate move to take the lead. As he approached Truex’s car he spun out, and while his car was spinning, it knocked Truex’s car sideways.
While the unnecessary hit cost Truex a victory and five playoff bonus points, it was even more costly for Johnson. The incident caused Johnson to lose just enough points in track position to keep from advancing to the next playoff round.
Truex was able to straighten out his spinning No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota and cross the finish line with a 14th place finish.
Truex took the lead just before the race was red flagged for a multicar wreck on Lap 104 of 109. When the race resumed, the Furniture Row Racing driver bolted to the lead on the restart and held the position until the incident with Johnson.
“Last corner desperation behind us, that’s what you get,” said a frustrated Truex. “He just over-drove it and was never going to make it and used me as brakes and turned us both around. It sucks, we could have raced side-by-side off the last corner for a win and that would have been cool. The fans would have been digging it, but instead we finished 14th and he’s locked out of the playoffs. I guess that’s what he gets.”
Truex added, “He (Johnson) wasn’t ever going to make it through that corner whether I was there or not. Just desperation on his part and pretty stupid really if you think about it because he was locked into the next round and now he’s out. I guess if there’s a silver lining, that’s it. Want to thank Auto-Owners Insurance and all their associates with what they did with this race car being teal for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and it was a big day for us. It would have been really fun to take it to victory lane, but at the end of the day it wasn’t meant to be and we’ll move on to the next one.”
The chaotic race on Charlotte’s Roval lived up to its prerace hype with a number of incidents on the 17-turn, 2.28-mile circuit.
“It was crazy,” Truex said. “We at one point got spun by the 2 (Brad Keselowski) in the same corner and had to go to the rear – thought we were done. Restarted 27th and drove our way up through the field. You never knew what was going to happen today. Just trying to survive and we were in the right spot and did everything right and we got spun out twice and there’s nothing you can do about guys running you over.”
With the driver points being reset, Truex enters the next playoff round in third place with 3038 points (all 12 drivers start with 3000 points plus playoff bonus points earned throughout the season). See Round of 12 point standings below.
The Bank of America Roval 400 race winner was Ryan Blaney. Rounding out the top 10 were: Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, AJ Allmendinger, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano.
The race had 10 lead changes among nine drivers and there were eight cautions for 16 laps plus one red flag for nearly 15 minutes.
The Round of 12 playoff races will be contested at Dover International Speedway (Oct. 7), Talladega Superspeedway (Oct. 14) and Kansas Speedway (Oct. 21). The top eight drivers will advance to the next round.
Current Playoff Point Standings
1. Kyle Busch, 3055 points
2. Kevin Harvick, 3050
3. Martin Truex Jr. 3038
4. Brad Keselowski, 3025
5. Clint Bowyer, 3015
6. Joey Logano, 3014
7. Kurt Busch, 3014
8. Ryan Blaney, 3013
9. Chase Elliott, 3008
10. Kyle Larson, 3006
11. Aric Almirola, 3001
12. Alex Bowman, 3000
FRR PR/Photo Credit Sean Gardner/Getty Images