Martin Truex Jr. involved in Final Stage crash at Daytona

Martin Truex Jr. was among the multiple cars involved in a Lap 102 crash at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday morning.

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Truex, who entered the Coke Zero Sugar 400 as the final car in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff grid, was sent spinning in a six-car melee midway down the backstretch. The No. 19 Toyota was contacted on the left side by Ross Chastain, who nudged Truex as the 2017 Cup champion checked up to avoid the mess ahead of him. The incident started when second-place-runner Michael McDowell made a late block on Tyler Reddick, sending the No. 34 Ford into the outside wall.

Truex collected a total of 15 stage points Sunday with finishes of fifth in Stage 1 and second in Stage 2, making headway on Ryan Blaney for the advantage in the points standings. Blaney entered the event with a 25-point lead over Truex.

Ultimately, Truex’s stage points were not enough to propel him back to the postseason. Austin Dillon’s victory meant just one playoff position remained based on points. While Blaney was involved in a Lap 31 crash and returned to the track multiple laps down, the No. 12 team vaulted up the running order as others fell out of the event.

Blaney ended the day in 15th, six laps down, with three more points than Truex, who finished eighth despite his damage.

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The end result leaves Truex out of the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Truex, the 2017 Cup champion, finished runner-up in the championship hunt in three of the last four seasons.

Also collected in the Lap 102 pile-up were Corey LaJoie, William Byron and Chris Buescher.