April 15, 2024

Martin Truex Jr. Hits Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin After Checkered Flag at NASCAR RIchmond

  • Martin Truex Jr. said he didn’t appreciate his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and race winner Denny Hamlin racing him the way he did on the restart late in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond.
  • Kyle Larson said he thought Truex’s anger began on the restart when he thought Hamlin “used him up.”
  • Larson added, “I think he is more mad at Denny, but I was the closest one to take his anger out on.”

Martin Truex Jr. was within 1 1/2 laps of securing his first NASCAR Cup Series victory this season when suddenly a near perfect evening went awry in Richmond Raceway’s Toyota Owners 400 and left Truex taking out his frustrations on two fellow drivers.

On the final lap, Truex door slammed Kyle Larson on the backstretch. Then after the checkered flag, Larson and Truex hit each other again.

Even though Truex’s Toyota was trailing smoke, he next went after race winner Denny Hamlin, bumping him in the rear three times before heading to pit road.

“Unfortunately, it’s happened to us a few times here at Richmond. Lead the whole race and then some stupid, dumb ass move brings out a caution coming to the white flag and ruins our whole night,” says Truex, who led 228 of the 400 laps before having to settle for a fourth-place finish. “Definitely sucks.”

With five laps remaining, Truex possessed a 0.469-second lead over Joey Logano. He was about a half lap from the white flag when Bubba Wallace’s Toyota clipped the left rear of Kyle Larson’s Chevrolet and sent it spinning on the three-quarter-mile track’s frontstretch. That brought out the fifth and final caution flag and sent the race into overtime.

All of the lead-lap cars pitted for tires and Hamlin beat Truex off pit road with Logano third. When the race restarted, Hamlin got the jump on Truex. Logano then slipped under Truex and next came Truex’s door slam of Larson.

“He (Hamlin) jumped the start, then just used me up in turn one,” Truex said.

NASCAR ruled that Hamlin didn’t jump the restart.

Truex said he didn’t appreciate his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate racing him the way he did on the restart.

“I wish he would have given me a chance,” Truex said about Hamlin.

“Then the 5 (Larson) drove into the side of me in (turns) one and two and I got a little loose down the backstretch. I kinda slammed into him. No big deal.”

Larson said he thought Truex’s anger began on the restart when he thought Hamlin “used him up.”

“Then the 22 (Logano) got to his inside (turns) one and two,” Larson said. “I got in behind the 22. He (Truex) just turned left across my nose, had me up on the apron off of (turn) two. I don’t know if he thought I just piled it in there. Then he door-slammed me down the middle of the backstretch. I figured in (turns) three and four I was going to use him up a little bit.

“I think he is more mad at Denny, but I was the closest one to take his anger out on.”

Larson says Truex is probably the “most respected guy in the garage area.”

“So, I was surprised when he turned left on me down the backstretch after the checkered,” Larson said. “I hope he doesn’t have any hard feelings to me because I definitely don’t towards him.”


NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400

Richmond Raceway

Sunday, March 31, 2024

1. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 407.

2. (10) Joey Logano, Ford, 407.

3. (1) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 407.

4. (7) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 407.

5. (2) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 407.

6. (29) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 407.

7. (13) William Byron, Chevrolet, 407.

8. (23) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 407.

9. (14) Chris Buescher, Ford, 407.

10. (19) Tyler Reddick, Toyota, 407.

11. (30) Josh Berry #, Ford, 407.

12. (17) Noah Gragson, Ford, 407.

13. (5) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 407.

14. (27) Erik Jones, Toyota, 407.

15. (3) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 407.

16. (8) Ty Gibbs, Toyota, 407.

17. (4) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 407.

18. (32) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 407.

19. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 407.

20. (15) Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 407.

21. (6) Todd Gilliland, Ford, 407.

22. (20) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 407.

23. (9) Austin Cindric, Ford, 406.

24. (22) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 406.

25. (18) John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota, 406.

26. (31) Michael McDowell, Ford, 406.

27. (25) Carson Hocevar #, Chevrolet, 406.

28. (16) Ryan Preece, Ford, 406.

29. (33) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 406.

30. (34) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 405.

31. (35) Kaz Grala #, Ford, 405.

32. (36) Justin Haley, Ford, 405.

33. (24) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 405.

34. (26) Harrison Burton, Ford, 405.

35. (28) Zane Smith #, Chevrolet, 404.

36. (21) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 404.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 94.076 mph.

Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 14 Mins, 41 Secs. Margin of Victory: .269 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 5 for 54 laps.

Lead Changes: 16 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders: K. Larson 0;C. Elliott 1-5;K. Larson 6-48;B. Wallace 49;K. Larson 50-150;B. Wallace 151;M. Truex Jr. 152-171;J. Berry # 172;M. Truex Jr. 173-234;J. Berry # 235;M. Truex Jr. 236-286;C. Bell 287-294;M. Truex Jr. 295-335;D. Hamlin 336-345;C. Bell 346;M. Truex Jr. 347-400;D. Hamlin 401-407.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Martin Truex Jr. 5 times for 228 laps; Kyle Larson 2 times for 144 laps; Denny Hamlin 2 times for 17 laps; Christopher Bell 2 times for 9 laps; Chase Elliott 1 time for 5 laps; Bubba Wallace 2 times for 2 laps; Josh Berry # 2 times for 2 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 5,23,48,19,22,38,9,1,4,41

Stage #2 Top Ten: 19,4,22,5,11,20,17,23,24,45


A North Carolina native, Deb Williams is an award-winning motorsports journalist who is in her fourth decade covering auto racing. In addition to covering the sport for United Press International, she has written motorsports articles for several newspapers, magazines and websites including espnW.com, USA Today, and The Charlotte Observer. Her awards include the American Motorsports Media Award of Excellence, two-time National Motorsports Press Association writer of the year, and two-time recipient of the Russ Catlin award. She also has won an award in the North Carolina Press Association’s sports feature category.  During her career, Deb has been managing editor of GT Motorsports magazine and was with Winston Cup Scene and NASCAR Winston Cup Scene for 18 years, serving as the publication’s editor for 10 years. In 2024 she was inducted into the NMPA Hall of Fame.