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NASCAR penalizes Martin Truex Jr. 20 points for spoiler issue ahead of Texas race

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Martin Truex Jr.’s chances at a second Cup Series title took a massive hit ahead of Sunday’s Cup Series race at Texas.

NASCAR penalized Truex 20 points for a spoiler issue found during pre-race inspection. According to NASCAR rules, the spoilers on the cars must be used in the same condition as they were supplied by the manufacturer. Truex’s team apparently altered the spoiler’s status.

Truex’s crew chief James Small was also ejected from the track. He’ll likely be suspended.

The penalty means that Truex starts the race 63 points behind the fourth and final spot available in the championship race at Phoenix on Nov. 8. Texas is the second race of the three-race semifinal round.

The deficit means that Truex will likely need to win at either Texas or Martinsville to make it to the final four. The 2017 champion has been part of the final four in each of the last three seasons.

Truex’s spoiler penalty is also the second spoiler penalty in three seasons at the Texas playoff race. Kevin Harvick was penalized for a spoiler issue after he won at Texas in 2018. But Harvick was able to win at Phoenix the next week to advance to the final race and make it to Homestead with a shot at the title.

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS - OCTOBER 18: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, races during the NASCAR Cup Series  Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 18, 2020 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr.'s title chances have taken a big hit. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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