Ryan Truex’s bid for a top-five run at Phoenix International Raceway was dashed after being collected in the chaos that occurred in the closing stages of the Lucas Oil 150. Truex and the Kobe Toyopet team were credited with a 19th-place finish after being involved in an accident on lap 135.
Truex laid down the 13th-quickest lap of the lone practice session on Friday morning, and earned the 11th starting spot by advancing to the final round of qualifying for the eighth-consecutive week. At the drop of the green flag, the handling issues that Truex experienced in practice, specifically chattering the front tires in each corner, plagued his progress during Stage 1. Despite the balance woes, Truex maintained a top-10 position to collect one point at the conclusion of the opening stage on lap 40.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli brought Truex to pit road under the lap 41 caution for four tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment to remedy the tight condition. Truex began Stage 2 on lap 49 with a looser balance, but improved overall speed as he solidified himself inside the top 10. Truex earned two points in ninth position at the end of Stage 2, and pitted again for four tires under the subsequent caution flag.
Truex restarted from the eighth position on lap 88 and was in the thick of the frantic action on the restart. While Truex held his Kobe Toyopet Toyota Tundra inside the top 10 for over 30 laps, he reported his truck was “plowing” tight in each corner. Two quick caution flags allowed Truex to pit for tires and adjustments, and picked up four positions to 11th by narrowly missing a multi-truck accident in Turn 1 on lap 130. The aggressive racing would reach a fever pitch on a restart on lap 135. After restarting 11th, Truex made a bold move for a top-five position inside of several competitors through the dogleg backstretch. At the entrance to Turn 3, Truex was hit in the right rear quarter panel by another truck and was collected in a multi-truck accident. Truex’s Kobe Toyopet Tundra suffered significant damage and was unable to continue. He was credited with a 19th-place finish.
Ryan Truex Quote:
“I saw them five-wide and I had a huge run. I drove it to the bottom. Our truck just wasn’t where it needed to be tonight and I saw my opportunity. They just got all bunched up and I was like ‘you know what; I’m just going to go for it’. And I went for it…I was pretty much along for the ride there. That was quite a wreck. I want to say thanks to Phoenix (International Raceway) for building good walls. Because, honestly, that didn’t hurt like I thought it was going to. When you get hooked like that, you’re never looking forward to hitting the wall, especially with the left side. So thanks to them and NASCAR and everybody. It just kind of sucks, but thanks to Kobe Toyopet, Shige (Hattori), my team, and everybody. We’ve turned a lot of heads this year and still have one more to win. We’ll put our heads down and go to Homestead.”