Martin Truex Jr. battles in Texas, holds final Championship spot

Nov 8, 2015; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (78) during the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In the penultimate race of the Eliminator 8 round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Martin Truex Jr. finished in eighth place, and now sits at fourth overall.

Truex was contending for the win on Sunday and led for a lap, but jostling with Brad Keselowski led to issues with his No. 78 car’s power steering. Truex would have to settle for a top-10 result.

“I thought we had a shot at it and the right-front wheel started shaking real bad and got tight,” Truex told ESPN after the race. “It’s a damn shame. It’s a good run. … We had a really good race car.”

Jimmy Johnson did Truex a favor in passing Keselowski with just four laps remaining. It put the points difference between Truex and Keselowski at 19 points heading into the final run in the Eliminator round. Truex will have his eye on Keselowski and Carl Edwards, who is just seven points behind him, as he hope to hang on to the final spot in this round.

The top four drivers advance to the Championship 4 round of the Chase for a final, one-race showdown at Homestead on Nov. 22. Truex sits on the brink of elimination, and will likely need another top-10 finish or better to secure his place.

The final Eliminator race will take place next Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway. In 14 career races there, Truex has one top-5 finish.

Truex’s has finished eighth or better in four of his last five starts.

Calvin Jouard is an intern at Mile High Sports and a student at the University of Denver