NASCAR Cup Series
Kyle Larson, Cliff Daniels Will Chase a Different Championship at Phoenix
Oct 24, 2022
Ultimately, Martin Truex had no one to blame but himself for what happened during the final pit stop on Sunday at Homestead Miami Speedway, even if he wishes Kyle Larson had cut him some slack.
Still seeking his first victory of the season, Truex was leading when Tyler Reddick spun with 22 laps remaining, while also setting up the decisive pit stops. Larson had led most of the race, and the two entered pit lane nose-to-tail, contact between them sending Truex around and into his stall.
NASCAR reviewed the incident but deemed it incidental contact.
Truex, who finished the regular season fourth in the championship standings but missed the playoffs due to the depth of winners this season, added this to the list of numerous misfortunes that marred his 2022 campaign.
"I don't even know what to say at this point," Truex said after climbing out his car in sixth place.
Larson went on to win the race but wasn’t sure what more he was supposed to do, given that the proximity between cars is standard late in the race -- drivers not wanting to give any tenth of a second up on pit road.
"From my perspective, I'm just running my pit road speed," Larson said. "I'm running my lights. I'm trying to stay on those as consistent as I can. I think I had a few feet from my front bumper to his rear bumper.
"Usually you peel off and you're still in the gas until you've got ... the guy has got a lane to go by. He started to peel off and then all of a sudden he like slammed on the brakes. I hit him. I didn't really have any time to react, I was so close to him.
"I didn't know at the time if he was trying to get me to check up and play games or anything, but it sounded like he just misjudged where his pit stall was."
Larson said Homestead is one of the most challenging pit stalls to get into, especially in the late afternoon, and that's exact what Truex attributed to the incident to.
"Yeah, I definitely slowed down before I committed to my box," Truex said. "You can’t see a damn thing on pit road late with everything on your windshield. I turned late and needed to tap my brakes as soon as I turned, and he never lifted."
Larson offered sympathy and thought Truex was the biggest threat to the third win of his season and 19th of his career.
"I hope that's what happened because, I mean, I'm just running my pit road lights," Larson said. "They're not counting me into his pit stall, so I'm just trying to maintain what I'm doing, and he got to the brakes really hard.
"I hate that I spun him because he had a great day going and a great car, but just unfortunate."
The only rebuttal Truex offered is that he wishes his fellow champion had cut him just a little bit of slack.
"I’m not blaming it on him," Truex said. "I can’t blame it on him. It’s half my fault too. I just thought I would get a little courtesy, a little tap of the brakes, but it is what it is."