While Martin Truex Jr. might have looked like a contender to win the NASCAR Busch Clash Tuesday night, especially after coming from the back of the field twice, his race ended when he crashed while leading. Interestingly enough, that wasn't even the first time he was in the lead and had trouble.
The first would occur during a Lap 15 competition caution, when the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver missed a key chicane on the track and had to go all the way to the back of the field. Martin Truex Jr. eventually retook the lead, but fell victim to another incident in the chicane section. This time, he made contact with the retaining wall, effectively ending his night.
A positive takeaway for Martin Truex Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.'s dead-last finish in the opening exhibition race of the season has certainly gotten his Speedweeks off to a less-than-ideal start. However, it has no bearing on his and the No. 78 team's preparations for the Daytona 500.
That's because NASCAR now runs its Busch Clash on the Daytona road course, requiring a completely different car setup for the event. With that in mind, Martin Truex Jr. still has his primary car and backup car for the Daytona 500, meaning he isn't exactly behind the eight ball yet.
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Furthermore, Martin Truex Jr.'s positive run in the race, before things started going wrong, should come in handy at the second race of the season, which will be run on the same venue. It bodes well for Truex Jr. and his team as they've shown they have what it takes to be successful at this track in the future.
Spinning out while leading is not a great way to start your season, but it has given Truex Jr. and his team a lot of useful data and confidence even. That could prove handy in a few weeks' time.