Martin Truex Jr.’s outlook on the playoff race at Texas was fairly relaxed mid-week. The No. 19 driver did his Zoom video calls with reporters from his boat: “Worrying about it today’s not gonna change Sunday,” Truex Jr. said Thursday.
But a pre-race penalty Sunday could change his outlook.
NASCAR docked his team 20 driver and owner points for violating a rule that declares spoilers must be used “exactly as supplied from the manufacturer.”
NASCAR confiscated the No. 19 team’s spoiler and issued a $35,000 fine.
Additionally, Truex Jr. will start at the rear for the race, along with non-playoff drivers Daniel Suárez and Chad Finchum, for twice failing pre-race inspection. The No. 19 crew chief James Small has been ejected for Sunday’s event and will be replaced by Blake Harris as the interim crew chief.
Truex Jr. was slated to start sixth and was 31 points down on the playoff bubble to advance to Phoenix with two races remaining in the Round of 8. He drops to 51 points below the four-driver cutoff with the latest penalty.
The Cup Series enters its second race of the playoff Round of 8 for Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. on NBCSN.
UPDATED NASCAR PLAYOFF STANDINGS
ADV (win at Kansas)
Martin Truex Jr.