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Truex optimistic about Phoenix, Keselowski wishes him the best

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 08: Brad Keselowski (L), driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, reacts after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 8, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

Chris Graythen

If only every bit of on-track contact could play out the way it did Sunday at Texas between Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr.

In the closing laps, Keselowski had to deal with both Jimmie Johnson passing him, as well as making contact with Truex. In the end, it didn’t matter, as Johnson took the win, Keselowski finished second and Truex finished eighth.

“We were both racing hard,” Truex said of the slight contact made with Keselowski’s car. “Good hard racing, rubbing a little. Rubbing is racing. It was fun. I wish I could have hung with him a little longer, but my right front wheel started shaking.

“We had a loose wheel at the end. We were lucky to hang on and get what we did because with five laps to go, the power steering quit working; it broke a fitting or something. One of those weird days where I thought we had a shot at the win. Our car was real fast at the end of the race. Just a loose wheel and the power steering killed us.”

Truex got a great jump on the final restart with 17 laps to go and looked like he might get the better of Keselowski, even when the two made slight contact.

But then Truex began having issues with both his right front wheel and power steering, and Keselowski went past him, as well as others.

“At that point I just wanted to hang on and get the car to the checkered flag,’' Truex said. “I had to conserve at the end, running about 70 percent just to make sure we got to the finish line with all the wheels on the car and not lose a whole bunch of points.”

Keselowski replied to one of Truex’s post-race tweets by saying if Team Penske doesn’t win the Sprint Cup championship, he’s hoping Truex does. The two even shook hands after their post-race discussion.





Truex, who earned his 22nd top-10 of the season, leaves Texas fourth in the standings, six points behind series leader Jeff Gordon.

That also means Truex is the final transfer spot with one race remaining in Round 3 of the Chase before the championship round in two weeks at Miami.

Below him heading to Phoenix are fifth-ranked Carl Edwards (seven points behind Truex), Brad Keselowski (18 points behind Truex), Kurt Busch (28 points back) and Joey Logano (63 points back).

“We are in good shape,” Truex said. “Certainly, we would have like to have finished where we should have today. We should have run top-three and should have had a shot at winning.

“All-in-all, we didn’t beat ourselves. We are still in it. We will have to go to Phoenix and run hard and put together a really good run.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski