JOLIET, IL - SEPTEMBER 16: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota, walks through the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 16, 2017 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Martin Truex Jr. raced Martinsville cautiously for this reason


There was plenty of drama at Sunday's playoff race at Martinsville, but Martin Truex Jr. wasn't involved in any of it.

Truex raced cautiously and eventually finished second behind Kyle Busch, and he took that approach because he didn't want to make any enemies during the race.

"I try to race a certain way, and that's just how I race, and that's how I raced tonight," Truex said according to Motosport. "There was a hole there, I got in it and thought I had a shot at beating him fair and square. Just couldn't get the power down off of 4. It never crossed my mind to knock him out of the way. I know he hit the 11 out of the way, and that's I'm sure going to be a sore subject for those two.

"Seemed like a lot of guys made enemies tonight and we didn't. With three races to go, I don't really think I want any enemies, and I'm in pretty good shape. We'll just keep doing our thing and race our race, and Texas should be a great track for us, so hopefully we'll go there next week and just continue to do what we've done all year long."

Related: Kevin Harvick accuses another driver of "cheap shots" at Martinsville

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin were involved in a feud after Hamlin spun Elliott out, and Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney had a heated exchange after the race. But Truex stayed out of the drama, and he didn't need to mix it up with his competition.

Truex is still first in the points, and he has some leeway heading into the next two races. He has a 17-point lead over Kyle Busch, and barring a disaster, Truex will be racing for the championship in Homestead even if he doesn't win one of the next two races.

Nothing in NASCAR is guaranteed without a win, though. Kyle Larson found that out the hard way when engine failure ended his quest for a championship at Kansas. But Truex has been the best driver this season, and he deserves a spot in the final four.

Truex can end any doubt with a win over the next two races. Busch is the only driver locked into the the championship race at Homestead, and the other seven drivers will be battling to earn a spot at Texas and Phoenix.