2 previous champions are not destined for the playoffs in 2022 – Race Review Online

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Brad Keselowski made 10 NASCAR Cup Series playoff appearances during his career, including every year since 2014, the year the format was adopted. Martin Truex Jr. had made the postseason 9 times, including every year since 2015.

Nobody has more Championship 4 appearances than Truex Jr. Only Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have as many appearances at 5. Keselowski has 2. It wasn’t that long ago that both Truex and Keselowski made up 50% of the 2017 Championship 4 field for in the that Truex took home his only title.

Now, neither is part of the 16-driver 2022 playoff field.

Despite 4 Championship 4 appearances in the last 5 years, Truex is out. He missed it by just 3 points.

“It sucks,” Truex said of missing the playoffs. “You race all year and work hard and try to do whatever it takes and taking three points is pretty hard to swallow when I know we can do something in the playoffs.

“Yeah, I mean, it is. Hindsight is always 20/20. We gave away a lot of points throughout the season, but it is what it is”.

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – AUGUST 28: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Cares Toyota , Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 A SHOC Chevrolet, and Bubba Wallace, driver of the #23 DoorDash Toyota, compete during the NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on August 28, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Truex suffered crash damage from the lap 101 incident in which he was picked up. That created a parachute on his car once we got back into the race after a rain delay of over 3 hours. While he was in the top 4, he faded to 8th.

It just wasn’t fast enough.

“We had too much damage at the end,” Truex said. “We had a good place in the restart and we got a good restart. We have (Austin Cindric) up front, which is what we were trying to do, but we just couldn’t keep up. Just too much damage. It’s a shame. We knew it was going to be tough with so many cars out of the race and the distance between me and (Ryan Blaney). It was going to be difficult to stay in fourth place or better with a car that broke down.”

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Ryan Blaney was helped by 13 cars that came out of the race as a result of that crash on lap 137, so despite being 6 laps behind, he was able to finish 15th.

“Yes, we are very lucky. That’s for sure,” Blaney said.

“It was not a good day to get going and get up early. At that time our destiny was not really in our hands. All we can do is try to keep working on it and fix it so we can go around.

“Fortunately we were able to get enough cars through the crashes so we kept going and were able to get in.

“That’s definitely a lot more stressful than I wanted to come here, but I just have to give group 12 a lot of props, you know, for fixing it up and keeping it up all day. That’s why you do it.

“Your day can start like this, and you just stick with it and stay in the game. And it was definitely beneficial for us.”

He was involved in a crash on lap 30 that damaged his No. 12 Ford. It’s the same incident that eliminated Keselowski and kept him out of the postseason in Year 1 for his RFK Racing team.

“It’s frustrating, but every time your season comes down to one race, you have a lot more at stake than just that one race,” Keselowski said. “Our team put a lot of effort into preparing this car. They brought a great car, so it hurt me that we didn’t get a chance to show it off.”

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Keselowski said the most frustrating thing about this is that they had a car capable of winning.

“We were pretty good,” Keselowski said. “We had a chance to do it today and we never had a chance to show it.

“Someone crashed in front of me. I’m not quite sure what exactly happened, but there was just a bunch of cars crashing in front of me. He had nowhere to go and couldn’t slow down in time, so I hate him for our team. We had a really fast racing car.”

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