The only kind of luck Truex has had this season has been of the rotten variety. That continued today at Homestead, where another potential win went up in smoke. A nearly two-second lead for Truex evaporated with just 23 laps to go when Tyler Reddick crashed in Turn 2. That brought the drivers to pit lane, where it all fell apart for the No. 19 team.

Just as Truex was about to turn into his pit stall, he was tapped in the rear by Kyle Larson, which sent him spinning backwards into his box. While Larson went on to win the race, Truex went from the lead to 19th place. Frustrated beyond words, Truex stormed back in the closing laps to finish 6th, but it was just another punch in the gut for the veteran driver.

"It’s just disappointing," Martin said. "To have a good day going like that and have a shot at winning and couldn’t close the deal. I hate it for my team. It’s been one of those years." While he was upset with how things played out, he took blame for the incident and was able to see the bigger picture.

"It’s really hard to see through these windshields right now with the sun like that and all the stuff covering it. I did see my box late for sure, so I slowed down before I turned out of the way of the 5 there. Obviously partly on me. I didn’t expect to get turned around. I’m glad nobody got hurt there."

Larson touched on those same points. "I was going behind him, and he had a hard left and was hard on the brakes at the same time, and I ran right into the back of him. My team said he was late turning into his stall, but if it was my fault, I’m sorry. When you’ve got debris all over your windshield, the sun shining straight in your face, it’s hard to see your stall. I hate that it happened, he was definitely the one I was going to have to beat. He was really good that last long run."

Although he came up short of making the playoffs because he didn't win a race, Truex was arguably the most consistent driver in the regular season with 15 top-tens and over 500 laps led. The grit and never-give-up attitude that his Joe Gibbs Racing team has shown this year is the same thing that Larson and his team used to fuel them to victory. Both teams and drivers are out of the title hunt, but they are still racing like they have a shot.

It was a valiant effort by Truex to fight his way back towards the front of the field late in the race, especially when it meant taking away valuable playoff points from his teammate Hamlin. Truex is oozing with confidence, which certainly bodes well for this team next year.

"We’re going to keep digging," Truex vowed. "We’re going to win a bunch of races. We’ve just got to get through this rough patch."