Martin Truex Jr. came up a little short as the Furniture Row Racing driver finished a close second to Matt Kenseth in Saturday night's Sprint Unlimited race at Daytona International Speedway.
Truex led a race high 28 laps in the 75-lap non-points event at the 2.5-mile oval. He led 14 of the first 25 laps and went on to lead another 14. Last year, Truex led only one lap the entire season.
Truex's Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet was fast as soon as the green flag dropped to start the race, which featured 25 cars.
"It (the car) was awesome," said Truex. " I can’t say enough about the guys on the Furniture Row No. 78 team -- everybody back at the Denver shop that put the car together . They gave me one heck of a race car. The best car I have ever had here without a doubt. Second sucks, but that is the most fun I have had in a race car in a long, long time. After the year we had last year and then everything that I have been through with Sherry (Pollex, girlfriend) it feels good to come here and run like that.”
When the race was restarted for the final time on Lap 71 Truex was positioned in third place. Two laps later he was running in second behind Kenseth.
"I was hoping that I would be catching him (Kenseth) with a little bit more speed," said Truex. "I kind of got the setup that I wanted coming off of (turn) two on the last lap. The problem was the 19 car (Carl Edwards) behind me. He is Kenseth's teammate and wasn't going to give me the push down the back that I needed to get the momentum to get around Kenseth. I didn't have enough speed when I got to Kenseth to keep him from blocking me."
The race kicked off the 10th anniversary for Furniture Row Racing and it was also the first official race for Cole Pearn as Truex's new crew chief.
The top-10 finishers in order were: Kenseth, Truex, Edwards, Casey Mears, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick.
There were 14 lead changes among nine drivers and four cautions for 17 laps. The race was also red flagged twice for a total of 20 minutes.