Crash sidelines Martin Truex Jr. early in Kansas playoff race

NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs driver Martin Truex Jr. found early trouble in Sunday’s race, crunching the Turn 3 wall at Kansas Speedway.

He lost control of his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the fourth of 268 laps in the Hollywood Casino 400. Truex had radioed his team about a potential issue on the backstretch before the crash.

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Truex’s car was towed to the garage, and crew chief James Small told the team, “We’re done.”

“Just unfortunate and very unlucky,” said Truex, who was evaluated and released from the infield care center after the incident. “I took off really tight and I knew something was up, and then cut a right rear. Not really sure what happened, obviously, but it blew in the worst place possible.”

Truex finished as the Regular Season Champion and entered the playoffs’ opening round in a tie for the standings lead. A finish of 18th place last weekend at Darlington, plus a last-place result in Sunday’s race at Kansas dropped him to seven points below the elimination line.

MORE: Truex reacts to early-race incident

Four of the 16 playoff-eligible drivers will be ousted from title contention after next Saturday’s race (7:30 p.m. ET, USA, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NBC Sports App) at Bristol Motor Speedway.