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Martin Truex Jr. “had a lot of fun” chasing JGR teammate Denny Hamlin during NASCAR Bristol race

Martin Truex Jr. lost the 2024 Food City 500 to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin by a close margin of 1.083 seconds on Sunday (March 17) at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Truex Jr., the #19 Toyota driver, battled with Hamlin as they both tried to navigate through heavy lapped traffic. In the end, the #19 driver was able to close the gap but Hamlin had a big enough lead in the final five laps to secure the win ahead of Truex Jr., who finished P2.

Speaking to the media after the race, Martin Truex Jr. expressed a mixed feeling of disappointment and appreciation. Despite falling one spot short in Bristol, he acknowledged the impressive performance of his #19 JGR team. He admitted that he enjoyed chasing his teammate for the win at the Bristol concrete surface track.

“I gave it a hell of an effort. Congrats to them. Man, what a job by everybody at the JGR, TRD. Our Toyotas are working really well right now. Had a lot of fun today. Wish we could have come up one spot. Short on second. Good run for us. It’s been a great season for us,” Truex Jr. was quoted as saying by

Joe Gibbs Racing had complete dominance at Bristol Motor Speedway as their all-four drivers finished inside the top-10 and led a total of 383 of the 500 laps. Hamlin led 163 laps, Ty Gibbs led 137, Truex Jr. 54, and Christopher Bell 29. Gibbs finished ninth after winning both stages and Bell finished 10th.

Martin Truex Jr. points out where he missed out the win at Bristol Motor Speedway

The 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion passed Hamlin for the lead on Lap 483 but he lost the top spot to the latter a lap later, as the teammates worked around slower cars. Truex Jr. lost the top position as his #19 car’s tires gave up the ghost in the closing laps which cost him the victory.

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During the post-race interview, Martin Truex Jr. spoke about what went wrong in the closing laps and said (via

“I guess this tire management thing fits into my wheelhouse here at Bristol. Man, the difference was just coming out of the pits so far behind Denny. I had to use mine up more on the last run. I was right on his bumper when he pitted and when I came out, he was a straightaway ahead of us and just used my stuff up too much to try to get there. The last five laps, my right-rear was corded. It was close.”

Martin Truex Jr. sits third in the Cup Series points table with 141 points.

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