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Truex appeared to be positioned for the win until Jamie McMurray smashed into the wall on the front straightaway, bringing out a caution with three laps to go. The leaders went to pit road, and Denny Hamlin’s crew got him back on the track first, just ahead of Truex. Truex faded to fourth.

While Truex struggled to get up to speed on the restart, Hamlin pulled away with Jeff Gordon right on his bumper. It was still that way when the checkered flag came out.

Truex spent the week with family, even raised money for his foundation at a golf tournament, and had to relive the close call.

“Everybody was like, `Man, I couldn’t believe what happened in Atlanta,’” he said. “They’re all telling me how loud they screamed at the TV and that they were throwing stuff. I said, `You should have been in my shoes.’ We had a lot of fun with that. All the people back home support me so much.”

Truex and Clint Bowyer made it banner year for MWR with two cars in the Chase field. Mark Martin, one of the most respected drivers in NASCAR, has won a few poles this season and the organization has proved it’s a threat to win every week. That’s quite a step up into contention after MWR had only four top-five finishes all of last year.

“I think it’s a big deal,” said Bowyer, sixth in the standings. “When you go to the shop, there’s so many people that are excited and thank you.”

Truex has pointed to the closeness of the team for a reason for his success, saying he wanted to remain with an organization that valued his input.

“We really help lift each other each and every weekend,” Truex said. “It’s been a lot of fun to be able to do that.”

Truex is always asked about his win at Dover but his two trips a year to the Monster Mile have not been races to remember. He has a 33rd, 34th and 30th-place finishes since 2009, though he has two top-10s squeezed in his last three races. He also has two career poles at Dover.

“I feel like we can still get a win or two before the year is out,” Truex said. “We’ve got a great race team.”