Lapped down drivers have no respect for leaders.
That is the assertion that Martin Truex Jr made after The Folds of Honor Quicktrip 400 from Atlanta Motor Speedway and while some of that might just be hurt feelings over coming up short, The JGR driver claimed that Ricky Stenhouse Jr held him up in the closing laps of the race.
“(Stenhouse) rode there in front of us forever and ever, running the bottom,” Truex said after the race. “I kept telling him I needed the bottom, and these cars are just so bad in dirty air that he was holding me up really bad.They just have no respect for the leaders running for the win. It’s completely uncalled for, ridiculous. It’s a shame.”
Interestingly enough however, Ricky Stenhouse Jr had a completely different view of things and seemed to blame Martin Truex Jr for not being fast enough. Stenhouse Jr talked about the incident between him and Truex Jr during an interview on Sirius XM NASCAR radio and said the following.
“To me I didn’t feel like we really held him off. If he was that fast, then he could have closed up to us. If leaders get within five car lengths of me, I let them go. Mike Herman Jr., my spotter, was updating me how far back (Truex) was. We were racing to try to get back on the lead lap.
With that being said however, Stenhouse Jr also explained that his car was running faster lap times than leader, Brad Keselowski and he was just Trying to get his lap back the old fashion way. Of course there is nothing wrong with doing that, especially with the possibility of another caution on the horizon, but the move seemed to ruin Truex Jr’s day.
In fact, some fans and even pundits speculated after the race that Martin Truex Jr would have won if he had just one more lap, which has only added more fuel to the fire. Whether Truex Jr actually could have or not will never be known for sure, but its still a hard loss for Truex Jr to swallow so early in the season.
“The way I see it, if Truex is fast enough and that much faster than me, then he could have caught us. If he would have caught us and got to within five car lengths, I would have let him go. He didn’t have any problem getting within five car lengths of (Keselowski).
In the end, it will be interesting to see how these two drivers interact on the track moving forward and if they can play nice or not. Or maybe it will be one of the feuds that build and then eventually boil over, which would be great for the sport and ratings, but bad for whoever ends up on the losing end of the battle.