Truex driven by last year’s photo-finish at Daytona 500

Martin Truex Jr. answers a question during a news conference at the NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Martin Truex Jr. is more driven than anything by the 2016 Daytona 500.

Truex finished second to Denny Hamlin in a photo finish last year. He gets another shot at the “Great American Race” on Feb 26.

“It’s the biggest race of the year for us … It’s the one everyone wants to win, and so it was really cool to be part of that finish, the closest ever in history with all the guys that have raced at Daytona,” Truex said Tuesday night. “But at the same time, it’s such a big race and you want to win it so bad. To come that close hurts.”

Truex has seen replays of the finish a few times during the past year, including a promo for the 2017 race during Sunday’s Super Bowl.

“Kind of remembering it from last year a little bit,” Truex said. “Looking forward to hopefully getting on the other side of that one this year.”

Truex and the other drivers will be competing this season under a new championship format.

NASCAR is cutting races into three segments. Points will be awarded to the top-10 finishing drivers from the first two segments. The third and final segment will determine the overall race winner. Bonus points can be carried into the playoffs.

NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr., and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison swap jerseys before an NHL hockey game between the Lightning and the Los Angeles Kings, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. Truex Jr., was in Tampa promoting the Daytona 500 auto race. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr., and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison swap jerseys before an NHL hockey game between the Lightning and the Los Angeles Kings, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. Truex Jr., was in Tampa promoting the Daytona 500 auto race. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

“We’ve got some different rules this year that I think will benefit our team,” Truex said. “For us, I think it’s a welcome change. I think the fans are really going enjoy it once we roll them out. I’m excited about taking points to the playoffs. I think that will be a big deal for our team.”

Had NASCAR run the system this past season, Jimmie Johnson still would have won the title, but Truex would have advanced one more round through the playoffs based on his two victories in the first round.

Truex was in attendance for Tuesday’s NHL game between the Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay. He traded helmets with Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison, and received a No. 78 – his car number – Tampa Bay jersey from the team.

NBC4i.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s