Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing took advantage of a break late in the race as the single car team dashed from two laps down to a 14th-place finish in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.
“The finish wasn’t what we wanted, but we made something good out of it,” said Truex.
Down two laps and positioned in the low to mid 20s, it appeared that Truex’s Furniture/Denver Mattress Chevrolet was headed for a long day at the 1.5-mile oval. But a strategic call by crew chief Todd Berrier turned the tide for the No. 78 team.
While cars were pitting under green with fewer than 50 laps remaining, Berrier instructed Truex to stay out as long as possible. The call paid off since Truex gained one lap by staying out per Berrier’s instruction, and when the caution flew shortly after on Lap 231 he received the Lucky Dog free pass.
“Once we got back on the lead lap that gave us an opportunity to gain track position instead of being stuck in the 20s,” explained Truex. “I can’t recall gaining two laps that quickly. It's been a tough year for us with bad breaks so today we got a break that went our way and that got us to a decent finish.”
Truex added, “The race didn’t start out the best for us. The first run was really bad – it got us a lap down early. It took forever to get back on the lead lap. We had a problem with the car turning. But considering the issues we faced today, 14th was respectable. Our over-the-wall was outstanding, as they have been all year.”
Truex remained 25th in the driver point standings with nine races remaining.
The MyAFIBStory.com 400 winner was Brad Keselowski. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Jeff Gordon, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth.
There were 18 lead changes among seven drivers and six cautions for 28 laps.