|08/29/19||DIBENNEDETTO NASCAR'S ROCKY BALBOA|
|06/26/19||FROM JOURNEYMAN DRIVER TO HALL OF FAMER|
|06/18/19||WINNERS NOT ADDING UP|
|05/25/19||THE 600 IS STILL A CROWN JEWEL|
|05/15/19||NEXT TWO WEEKS COULD BE TOO GOOD|
|04/10/19||WALTRIP A TWO-WAY HALL OF FAMER|
RIGHT WHERE THEY NEED TO BE
I was wandering around the Martinsville Speedway garage Sunday morning when I ran into Martin Truex's crew chief Cole Pearn. We began to talk about their current predicament of failing post-qualifying inspection and having to go to the back of the pack for the opening race in round three of the Monster Energy Cup Series Playoff.
I immediately thought this would not be a massive problem, just a small speed bump. I told Cole Furniture Row Racing were the like the Boston Red Sox playing in the World Series against the Dodgers. They never quit with two outs and kept coming through in the clutch on the way to collecting another championship.
"You guys are going to come up big today," I said getting ready to walk away. Pearn replied, "I hope you're right."
Turns out I was, but that doesn't make me a genius nor a great psychic. When their backs are pinned against the wall Truex, Pearn and the gang are right where they need to be because it's in those moments they are at their best.
Martinsville just proved it again.
We all know the story about how Truex drove to the front and in the end found himself battling for the victory with Joey Logano. Truex didn't always play nice getting himself into that position. Oh, he didn't spin or wreck anyone, but he wasn't bashful about handing out a few "love taps" to make a pass or put a driver on notice he was coming through. It was really fun to watch Truex do his thing as he knifed through the field bidding to win his first short track Cup race.
Then, it got really entertaining with Logano. We all saw how in the closing laps, Truex nudged and leaned on Logano until he took the lead just as he was taking the white flag. Truex had to have been thinking I've punched my ticket to Homestead when he suddenly took a punch to the back bumper and it was Logano heading to Florida with a guaranteed spot in the championship four, not him.
Truex was outraged and had a right to be, but not because Logano had done anything wrong. It was okay for Truex to be upset he had fought so hard and overcome so many obstacles in that race only to lose it in the final 300 yards. What competitor, worth a pinch of salt, would not be honking mad about that?
Saying, however, it was a cheap shot was another matter.
Logano just pulled off a classic bump and run, something that's been done many times in the past but not so much in recent memory. When I started broadcasting Cup races back in the 80's the driver code said such a move was okay as long as the guy taking the hit did not get wrecked. For him, he had to swallow finishing second or third with a "get you next time" smile, while having the right to retaliate immediately upon getting out of the car if it was taken back to the garage area by a wrecker.
Jeff Gordon stole a win at Bristol not once but twice booting Rusty Wallace back to the runner-up spot on the final lap. I'm sorry if you disagree, but that is acceptable behavior to me. It's what made NASCAR.
Some guys like Truex don't believe it's appropriate and
For the doubters who say he can't win a championship with his team soon to be shutting down, the defending Monster Energy Cup Series Champion is putting a giant chip on his shoulder and will dare anyone to knock it off at Texas, Phoenix, and Homestead, if he makes it that far.
I'm betting he will.
Usually mild-mannered and cool as the other side of the pillow, Truex climbed out of the 5-Hour Energy Toyota Sunday red hot and you can bet he'll stay fired up. And, as history has taught, he and his team will come up big again.