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Friday, January 21, 2022

“Second hurts” after defeat to Larson in NASCAR title combat

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The Joe Gibbs Racing driver, who completed second in 2018 with Furnishings Row Racing and once more in 2019 with JGR, led for 72 laps on Sunday and hit the entrance in stage three after undercutting his title rivals at what ought to have been the ultimate cease of the race and biking him again to the entrance.

He seemed to be heading in the direction of his second championship, after his 2017 breakthrough season, when a particles warning prompted everybody to return to the pits – the place Larson seized the initiative.

Truex spent the rest of the race looking Larson, and though he remained shut was by no means in a position to get previous as Larson earned his first Cup Series title, and the second in a row for Hendrick Motorsports after Chase Elliott’s 2020 crown.

“In the end we would have liked to beat him off pit highway,” surmised Truex.

“It is unlucky, however we win and lose as a workforce. And actually happy with our efforts this yr.

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“That is thrice we have been second, and that sucks. Second hurts I am not going to lie, particularly with the automobile we had and the job the blokes did.

“That is racing, as they are saying, and typically you are simply not on the correct finish of issues. We have been on the correct finish to issues to get the lead there and weren’t in a position to maintain on to it.

“If we may have had the lead, I feel it will have been over, however that is form of how the #5 [Larson] did it, too. So they’d a hell of a season and congrats to them.”

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro HendrickCars.com, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Professional Retailers

Picture by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Hamlin may do “nothing else”

Truex’s fellow title-chaser and team-mate Denny Hamlin completed third, as soon as once more arising quick in his quest for a primary Cup title.

The 40-year-old, who appeared sturdy in his pursuit of Truex till the warning that handed Larson the initiative, stated there was “nothing else I may have performed” to get on phrases with the main pair.

It was the third consecutive season he’s superior to the championship-deciding race and didn’t win the title, having completed fourth in 2019 and 2020.

“I’ve to dwell with the end result as a result of I can’t change it. Upset, completely, for certain. However I knew form of going into right this moment I used to be going to want the race to go a sure manner,” Hamlin stated.

“If it goes the best way it did final yr, it goes inexperienced out (to the end), we’re in all probability successful. Nevertheless it didn’t. We knew that our proportion was low, and that was the case.

“Many of those races come all the way down to green-white checkers or shootouts on the finish, and that simply wasn’t our energy and hasn’t been ever.”

The Cup Collection’ transfer to a brand new Dallara-built automobile subsequent season additionally places all drivers – younger or {old} – in a scenario of beginning over, and Hamlin stated the defeat stung extra having “actually put a lot emphasis” on making an attempt to win the ultimate title for the outgoing Gen-6 machines.

PLUS: How NASCAR is gearing up for its “biggest change” in 2022 

“That is the final technology of this automobile that I took an excellent liking to over the past three years,” Hamlin stated.

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Specific

Picture by: Ben Earp / NKP / Motorsport Images

“We don’t know what the Subsequent Gen automobile brings. We don’t know will our workforce be nearly as good. There’s simply many, many query marks what occurs after this.

“That’s why we actually put a lot emphasis on let’s attempt to win this, win this this yr.

“However truthfully, there’s simply nothing else I may have performed. There’s nothing else. I drove as arduous as I may each lap.

“I didn’t have the velocity for the primary 20 [laps]. It was evident in lots of the restarts we had. I feel we really overachieved in fairly just a few.”



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