NASCAR backmarker row - Stenhouse hits back at Truex's criticism

Ricky Stenhouse Jr has hit back at Martin Truex Jr's criticism of his behaviour while being lapped during last Sunday's Atlanta NASCAR Cup Series race

NASCAR backmarker row - Stenhouse hits back at Truex's criticism

Truex, who was trying to catch leader Brad Keselowski at the end of the race, said he was held up by Stenhouse continuing to run the bottom line in front of him while a lap down.

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Truex said Stenhouse "rode there in front of us forever and ever running the bottom" after falling two tenths of a second shy of Keselowski at the flag.

Stenhouse defended his driving, pointing out that he had an opportunity to get back on the lead lap at the time as at the previous restart he had been lined up behind leader Keselowski.

"To me I didn't feel like we really held him off," Stenhouse said of Truex in an interview on SiriusXm NASCAR Radio.

"If he was that fast, then he could have closed up to us.

"If leaders get within five car lengths of me, I let them go. Mike Herman Jr, my spotter, was updating me how far back [Truex] was. We were racing to try to get back on the lead lap.

"I felt like there at a moment we were going to be able to catch [Keselowski]. We were running faster lap times than he was.

"So, we were thinking, 'Hey, let's just old school get our lap back [by passing the leader] and see how it falls.'"

On the restart, Keselowski and Truex both found themselves behind lapped cars including Stenhouse's Roush Fenway Ford. Keselowski made his way past them without problem.

"The way I see it, if Truex is fast enough and that much faster than me, then he could have caught us," added Stenhouse, who remained a lap down and finished 18th.

"If he would have caught us and got to within five car lengths, I would have let him go. He didn't have any problem getting within five car lengths of [Keselowski].

"Brad Keselowski, he restarted behind me, actually nose to tail with Truex and he passed us on the outside.

"Generally, when I have a faster car, I just drive around the lapped cars that I'm lapping.

"I felt like me and my spotter and our team did the right thing for what we had going on."

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