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Daytona 500 outside pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr.’s day ends early with blown motor

Feb 23, 2014, 2:34 PM EDT

Martin Truex Jr AP

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – If only his car could have held out a few more laps until the rain came.

Unfortunately, that was not the case as outside pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr. suffered an early exit in Sunday’s Daytona 500 due to a blown engine. Truex was the first driver to drop out of the race due to mechanical failure.

“Definitely a tough break for the team,” Truex said. “The car was super fast today. I went to bed last night thinking this was my best shot ever to win Daytona 500. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.”

It appears that a oil pump belt came off the engine.

“You get about a 2-second warning the (belt) comes off (the pump) and it blows up,” Truex said. “Just didn’t get enough warning. It’s definitely a shame and tough break for this team.”

Truex crashed his primary car during Thursday’s Budweiser Duel 150s and was forced to start Sunday’s Great American Race in a backup car.

“What a shame we had such a fast race car,” Truex said. “I was really happy with it. It was a lot better than the car Thursday.”

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