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“That no doubt was the toughest thing in my career, having the carpet pulled out from underneath me,” Newman said. “To have that manipulated, and after the race, I didn’t put two-and-two together, I didn’t immediately think it was on purpose. Obviously, Clint has a lot of remorse now.”

Newman, however, feels awful for good friend Truex, who has not spoken publicly since Saturday’s race.

When it was Truex who ended up advancing into the Chase, Newman said he found his friend after the race and told him, “Now go do something with it.” Having now swapped places with his buddy because of unprecedented NASCAR sanctions to correct a bizarre race-fixing attempt, Newman said Truex has given him the same advice.

“I know that it’s tough for him because of his team situation,” Newman said. “I want to go out and do the best I can in the Chase and do the best I can for my team, but at the same time, I’m disappointed my buddy isn’t part of it and I’m disappointed at what he’s going through right now.”