Aug 11, 2013, 11:10 PM EDT
On Sunday at Watkins Glen, Martin Truex Jr. was in a position to strike if the last-lap battle for the win on Sunday between Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski turned chaotic. Instead, he had to settle for a third-place finish.
“We had so much speed in the short run, and after we put that last set of tires on, we almost got the lead but we just couldn’t quite run with [Busch] after that…After all those restarts, all those heat cycles in the tires,” Truex told ESPN.
“Both the 2 [Keselowski] and the 18 [Busch] were just a tick better than we were on the longer runs and on the older [tires] with built-up air pressures. We just missed it a little bit.”
But Truex was still one of the biggest movers in the Chase picture, as he and Keselowski each climbed four spots in the standings. Truex, who had entered Sunday as one of the two Wild Card holders, elevated himself from 14th to 10th in the championship.
Throw in his victory at Sonoma and it would appear that he’s earned himself some breathing room with four races to go before the Chase begins on Sept. 15 at Chicagoland. But there’s still a fair bit of racing to go before NASCAR’s post-season roster is settled.