After crashing out on lap 4 of the NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Kansas, Martin Truex Jr. faces historic elimination at Bristol.
Truex started third and dropped to 11th by lap 3 with an extremely tight racecar. Then, entering turn 3 on lap 4, the car broke loose and smacked the outside wall.
The crash knocked Truex out of the race and to a last-place finish.
“We fired off tight and I knew I had something wrong. Then, going into turn three, the right-rear tire blew at the worst possible time,” Truex told NBC. “It’s just a shame, we had a really fast car and couldn’t even show it.
Goodyear officials found a puncture in the right-rear tire on Truex’s car.
Kyle Busch and Ty Gibbs had to start at the rear of the field after each encountering a right-rear tire failure in practice.
By finishing last Sunday, Truex only earned one point for the Kansas race. Going into the Round of 16 cutoff race at Bristol, he is seven points below the cutline.
Truex won the regular-season champion and earned the No. 1 playoff seed. Neither the regular-season champion nor the No. 1 seed has ever missed the Championship Four, aside from Kevin Harvick in 2020. Harvick was eliminated by 8 points in the Round of 8 that year.