Martin Truex Jr. continues to show performance improvement as the Furniture Row Racing driver poured it on at the end to finish seventh in Sunday’s AAA 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway.
Truex, who started 26th in the 400-lapper at the Monster Mile, steadily gained track position, reaching the top-10 on Lap 305. His No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet only got better in the final 100 laps. He passed Denny Hamlin for ninth on Lap 337, then proceeded to pick up two more positions with the final pass coming on Lap 389.
His seventh-place result was the second best among non-Chase drivers and with finishes of 14th and 12th in the past two races, Truex has accumulated 99 driver points in the three race span, better than nine of the 16-driver Chase field.
The result was also the second best of the season for Truex, who posted a sixth-place finish in the June race at Dover. Dover was also the site of his first Sprint Cup win in June 2007.
“Dover has always been a special place for me,” said Truex, who calls the all-concrete oval his home track, which is 130 miles from where he was raised in Mayetta, N.J. “I don’t know what it is about this track – maybe it’s just home field advantage for me because it seems like the longer the race goes here the better we get. Just like last week (New Hampshire) I wish the race was longer. I never thought I would say that.”
While Truex did his job behind the wheel of his flat-black Chevy, he was quick to praise the team effort.
“We fought hard and never gave up today,” stated Truex. “The guys did a good job in the pits and we made really good changes throughout the race. We got the car better every single stop, and at the end, it was at its best.”
When told that his numbers during the first round of the Sprint Cup playoffs, were Chase caliber, Truex shoved it aside.
“We’re not in the Chase so there’s no sense to dwell on those numbers and make comparisons,” explained Truex. “What we are doing right now is getting ready for next year. Trying to figure out how to make the car better and how to communicate better as a team – the whole nine yards. We are making progress. Everybody has done a good job the past couple of weeks, sticking together, not getting frustrated and working hard.”
Truex remained 24th in the driver point standings.
The race winner was Jeff Gordon. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Larson, Truex, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch.
The race had 10 lead changes among seven drivers and there were five cautions for 23 laps.