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Martin Truex Jr’s Crew Chief Decrypts His Late Race Gamble Detrimental to Winless Ross Chastain’s Prolonged Misery -“I Was like Yeah, Not Again”

Published 05/05/2023, 6:03 AM EDT

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In the racing world, each millisecond is precious and now with the introduction of these sophisticated Next-Gen cars and more regulations coming from the organization’s side, things have certainly become all the more complex. With each team maximizing every possible window of opportunity, Martin Truex Jr who clinched the victory at Dover certainly knows a thing or two about improvisation!

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Recently his Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief revealed the last-minute adjustment that paved the way for his impressive victory at Dover International Speedway.

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Given his long and illustrious Cup Series career, the 42-year-old veteran has had some impressive finishes. Sharing the behind-the-scenes of one such finish, recently, JGR owner, Joe Gibbs, and Truex Jr’s crew chief, James Small joined the press conference after the #19 driver’s victory.


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Martin Truex Jr’s crew chief spills the beans on the game-changing move!

While the NASCAR Cup series at the MonsterMile was a tough and grueling ordeal for most drivers and their teams, veteran driver Martin Truex Jr made sure he capitalized on every possible window of opportunity to secure his win-  inching out the #1 driver, Ross Chastain in the last minute to pick home the decisive victory.

Recently, NASCAR dirt racing veteran, Kenny Wallace gave the community an interesting scoop on the conversation with the JGR boss and the #19 crew chief. And while they addressed the questions, fans identified the quirky trick the driver managed to pull off in the last minutes of the race.


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Wallace had an intriguing question for James Small, crew chief of #19. Identifying a tiny detail during the race, he asked What was your reaction when the caution came out and the idea to take two tires over four?” 

And reminiscing about the race, Small started his answer with a witty response, “I was like yeah, not again.”  Earlier this season, Truex was handed down a two-lap penalty as a wheel came out while exiting the pit road. However, this time, the team tried to minimize the time required for the pit stop without risking any failure.

Small further explained, “Seems like it always gets us but yeah the 2 tire call you know… given there are still 8 people on the lead lap, I thought there was others that were going to do it.”

With the race nearing its final stages, Small further took Wallace through the action on the tracks. Sharing his skepticism about the move, given Blaney’s odds of catching up or even Chastain’s team pulling off a close pitstop owing to their exceptional background. 

I thought you know 4 tire stop, they would probably beat us which given the times they probably would have. So that kinda made it a little easier as well and I just knew we would get the lead. We could clear out even though we had a lot of laps on tires. And it was definitely helpful that you know the #12 and the #20 also run the same deal. So yeah it’s just great to see.” 

How did Martin Truex Jr’s tiny adjustment make a huge difference?


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The sport of NASCAR is ever-evolving, with newer and modern cars, and more regulations coming into play, teams are always on the lookout for every opportunity. Despite the race being postponed to Monday, Wurth 400 certainly did not disappoint the huge crowd.

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While he was leading the pack in stage 3, the final minutes of the race became crucial as Ross Chastain who was closely followed by Ryan Blaney looked for a chance, hoping the #19 to pit. But as the saying goes, experience is the best teacher, with hours of being on the track Truex Jr certainly had experience on his side.


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WATCH THIS STORY: Sworn adversaries Kyle Busch and Ross Chastain join hands in calling out a common enemy. 

With the #1 hot on his tail, the 42-year-old pulled his final trick instead of changing all 4 tires, he quickly adapted to the scenario and went with changing only two, saving invaluable seconds that held off the Trackhouse Racing driver.



Kishore R

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Kishore is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. With a degree in engineering, Kishore's love for automobiles, particularly the roaring naturally-aspirated V8s, naturally led him to NASCAR. Kishore's writing is characterized by his intense passion for the sport, as well as his ability to conduct in-depth research and analysis.