“Not a Pretty Sight” – Martin Truex Jr Doesn’t Hold Back As He Bashes Joe Gibbs’ Crew

Published 08/10/2023, 7:38 AM EDT

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The Michigan International Speedway race was not just another day at the races. It was an event you watch from the edge of your seat. While the majority of the race was smooth sailing, it wasn’t without its fair share of bumps in the road, especially with numerous tire troubles sending drivers like Chase Elliott and Tyler Reddick skidding off course. Chris Buescher, hot on the heels of his Richmond victory, raced to his second back-to-back win, and he’s now on the cusp of making racing history with a potential sweep.

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Against all odds, Martin Truex Jr clinched some important points, coming in a close second. It was a game of cat and mouse, with Buescher keeping Truex Jr at bay until the final lap. But as it is, behind every great driver is an army of crew staff, including the pivotal pit crew, fueling the race to the finish line. That being said, when the pit crew drops the ball, it’s a spectacle for all—drivers, fans, and officials alike. On occasion, such slip-ups, especially when they throw a spanner in the works for the drivers, can land the pit crew in hot water.

Martin Truex Jr and crew chief raise eyebrows at pit crew performance


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After Truex’s stage one victory, he darted in for what should have been a routine pit stop at lap 50. But it soon became clear that there was a wrench in the works. A rogue tire went off the rails, turning what should have been a brief hiatus into a nail-biting situation. Thanks to the quick thinking of a pit crew member, a potential disaster was narrowly averted.

Yet it was Truex’s comments that created controversy in the NASCAR community. He didn’t mince his words, stating, “Not a pretty sight.” His curt remark spoke volumes, highlighting what he saw as a major blunder. James Small, Truex’s Crew Chief, didn’t beat around the bush either, chiming in with a terse.


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He said, “No, it is not [a pretty sight].” Familiar with the nuts and bolts of pit stops, Small recognized the gravity of the lapse. A pit stop is very much a team effort, and a misstep by one can throw a spanner into the works for all.

It’s rare to find Joe Gibbs Racing, known for its textbook operations, in such a bind. This hiccup, minor as it may seem to some, could have shifted the scales in a sport where every tick of the clock counts. In fact, the misstep coming from a team that holds the record for the fastest pit stop at Richmond is certainly disappointing.

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Behind the Scenes of JGR’s Pit Stop Revolution

The JGR team’s pit stops are quite the spectacle, with all five crew members hitting the ground running, leaping off the pit wall, and dashing to the car’s right side like a well-oiled machine.

The front tire changer, always one step ahead, not only takes charge of the right front tire but also spearheads the shift to the left rear tire. Meanwhile, their counterpart attending to the right rear tire seamlessly transitions to the left front.

Now, in the traditional playbook of most Cup teams, one person plays double duty, tackling both front tires, while another moves around the car to change both rears. But the JGR crew messed up here, approaching the rear tire from the front, breaking away from the beaten path.

When the JGR method clicks, it’s lightning in a bottle, with pit stops that are faster than a New York minute. Case in point: during the Richmond race, the No. 54 [Ty Gibbs] team’s pit crew, executed a jaw-dropping 8.54-second stop. Tires changed, tank refilled, and in a flash, Gibbs was back burning rubber.

After sweeping the floor at the All-Star Race’s pit crew challenge earlier in the season, Joe Gibbs Racing’s continued prowess was hardly a bolt from the blue. With such a crack team in their corner, the group faces pit stops with confidence, knowing they can snatch places on pit roads at the drop of a hat.


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Yet, nobody’s perfect. While consistency is the name of the game, the recent hiccup during Martin Truex Jr.’s pit stop serves as a wake-up call, reminding the team that even they aren’t immune to occasional missteps.


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The ripple effects of this oversight within the Joe Gibbs Racing fraternity remain to be seen. But in the high-stakes world of NASCAR, there’s no room for slip-ups. As Truex so aptly put it, any deviation from perfection is “Not a pretty sight.”

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi


One take at a time

Neha Dwivedi is a NASCAR Writer for EssentiallySports. Her ability to capture the spirit of the exhilarating races and relay the enthusiasm to her readers distinguishes her as a sports journalist. Neha's articles strike a nice balance between technical accuracy and story-telling.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh




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