Martin Truex Jr talks about the impact of Darlington crash after hitting the wall in practice

NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 - Qualifying
Martin Truex Jr in the NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Martin Truex Jr. had a disappointing start to his playoff campaign at Darlington Raceway last weekend. He lacked the front-running pace shown by his teammate Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell early in the race.

The #19 Joe Gibbs Racing team left the track baffled by their deficit to teammates but seemed to have found the answer back at their factory. Speaking to the media at Kansas Speedway, Martin Truex Jr. revealed that he had bent a part of his #19 Toyota during the practice session. The team suffered from its repercussions throughout the weekend.

Truex Jr. had scraped the infamous wall of Darlington Raceway and the team could only diagnose the issue after bringing the car back to the factory. The #19 Toyota driver regretted not having forced his team to rigorously check the car after his incident.

Reflecting on his dismal run in the playoff opener, he said to the media at Kansas (via Fox Sports):

"It was an unfortunate time for it to happen obviously, our car was really good in practice until the issue. So live and learn, I mean I really haven't had any issues like that with this car like 'Hey something's gonna be wrong on Monday when we look at everything'."

He added:

"I barely hit the wall but I just don't have a lot of experience with it. I have either not touched the wall or broke the toe link... with crashes at Atlanta and Talladega and places like that. So it's hard to tell just was it really that big a deal that I hit the wall so hard and apparently it was."
"So bad way to start it off, felt like it was an opportunity for us last week, and we probably should have run up front."

Despite having started behind his JGR teammates, Truex Jr.'s 18th-place finish in the Southern 500 was the highest finish for the team.

Martin Truex Jr. explains the "deciding factor" that forced him not to retire

For much of the 2023 season, Martin Truex Jr.'s future in NASCAR was uncertain as he was on the brink of retiring. However, midway through the season he broke his winless streak and has since won two more races to be crowned the regular season champion.

Martin Truex at Daytona
Martin Truex at Daytona

After announcing his extension with JGR, Martin Truex Jr. explained that this winning form has kept him from retiring as he hopes to increase his championship tally.

“I could not find a reason why I shouldn’t keep racing. It was really how simple it was. Feel like we can win every week, Feel like we can win a championship this year, next year, whenever and that was really the deciding factor,” he said to Frontstretch.

It is a fair assessment as the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion is back to winning ways and wants to continue his form winning more races and titles.

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Edited by Aditya Singh