Defending series champion Truex has no choice.
“You’ve got to put it behind you, learn from it,” said Truex. “You don’t forget but you have to move on, change your focus. Right now it’s Texas.”
Truex led going into the last lap of the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway before Logano used an aggressive pass to nudge the No. 78 Toyota to win the race and secure a spot in the championship at Homestead. Truex finished the race third. While Logano celebrated the win to a chorus of boos, Truex gave the thumbs down to the crowd and vowed that Logano wouldn’t win the title because Truex would.
That finish led to a text exchange between the drivers following the race and Gossage getting his marketing team cranked up playing up the incident.
“Everybody’s still talking about it,” Truex said. “Everybody has an opinion, which is pretty normal. I really don’t care what their opinion is. I know what I think. I know how I’m going to race from here on out.”
Logano, the only driver who’s secured a spot in the championship rounding heading into Sunday’s AAA Texas 500, has also move on.
“I can’t say I was surprised that he texted,” Logano said. “I was kind of glad he did. I was planning on waiting a couple of days to let things settle. We both know where we stand. We know where it’s at. It is what it is, and we move on.”
While Logano can move on knowing what happens over the next two weeks won’t impact his championship hopes, that’s not the case for Truex.
Truex is 25 points above the cut line for Homestead with two races remaining before Homestead, but that guarantees him nothing if he doesn’t either win or run well the next two weeks.
“You have to show up to the race track planning to win, contending to win,” Truex said. “That’s what you race for. If you can’t do it, you want second, third or fourth the next couple of weeks. That would be good. You could come out of here and finish second and go to Phoenix and miss the final round. You come to all these races trying to win without doing some dumb gamble to try and win. You come here to be fast and try to be the guy to beat.”
Truex has been the guy to beat at TMS before but it’s never panned out with him collecting a win. Sunday’s race will be his 27th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at TMS, but he’s never won.
His spring race here was a disaster as he finished last after an accident, but that’s not indicative of a normal Truex run at TMS. He finished second last fall when he led 107 laps before getting caught by Kevin Harvick late and finishing second. He’s led a total of 595 laps at the track and has 14 top-10 finishes, including six of the last seven races.
“It’s been awesome,” Truex said of TMS. “We’ve led tons of laps here. I can remember losing a race back in 2011 or 2012 and we had a late caution and got beat off pit road. Last year leading this race late and lost the handle on the car with 15 or 20 laps to go and here comes the 4 car [Harvick] and passes us. There have been multiple things. It just depends the way cautions fall, pit stops. It hasn’t been we can’t win here. We just haven’t yet. We’ll keep plugging away.”