Despite having the fourth-most points of the NASCAR Cup Series competition, Martin Truex Jr. fell three points short of making the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Truex Jr. had made the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons. Now, the highest he can finish in points is 17th.
Truex Jr. picked up 15 stage points and an eighth-place finish Sunday in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
“We got in a decent spot and just couldn’t keep up,” Truex Jr. said. “I was wide open the whole last run there. It’s a shame, it stinks, but just too much damage to do what we needed to do.”
Among the winless drivers, Truex Jr. was 25 points behind Ryan Blaney entering Daytona. If no new winners took the checkered flag Sunday, both would have made the playoffs.
Austin Dillon’s victory snubbed Truex Jr. from the playoff grid.
“It’s a shame,” Truex Jr. said. “We knew it was going to be tough with so many cars out of the race and the distance between me and the 12 (Ryan Blaney).
“It was going to be hard to hang on to fourth or better with a car that torn up.”
Truex Jr. won four races last year and finished runner-up in points to champion Kyle Larson.
Through 26 races, Truex Jr. has one pole, three Top-5 finishes, 12 Top-10 finishes, and has led 456 laps.
Entering next weekend’s race at Darlington Raceway, Truex Jr. has a 34-race winless streak in the series.
I am a co-owner and reporter for TheRacingExperts.com.