Martin Truex Jr. will take his hot streak to Southern California for Sunday’s running of the Auto Club 400.
The 200-lap, 400-mile race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana completes a three-race West Coast swing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
For Truex and his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet it doesn’t seem to make a difference if the race is contested in the Eastern or Pacific time zones. Early success for the Mayetta, N.J. native has been achieved in both areas of the country.
Truex enters the California race third in driver points after scoring four consecutive top-10s to start the season – eighth (Daytona), sixth (Atlanta), second (Las Vegas) and seventh (Phoenix). He has a 5.75 finishing average.
He is the first driver in Furniture Row Racing’s 10-year history to claim four straight top-10 finishes, and his third-place point standing is the highest ever for the single-car team, based in the Mile High City of Denver.
“It’s been a good start to the year,” said Truex. “I think it all goes back to a great plan going into the off-season. All the guys on the team Joe (Garone, general manager), Barney (Visser, team owner) and Cole (Pearn, crew chief) having a good plan and executing throughout the off-season.
“The cars have been running strong and the team has been making good decisions. Reliability has been there, so everything we have needed to work on and wanted to get better at has been there. Now it’s a matter of how much better we can get.”
Since last fall Truex and his Furniture Row teammates have had their eye on the California race after conducting a successful test session at the 2-mile oval.
“Definitely looking forward to California,” noted the 34-year-old Truex. “I feel it’s a place we should be strong. We did the Goodyear tire test there last fall and really liked what we saw with the new package. We ran 2015 rules and learned a lot that has helped us throughout this season. I had a good car at Atlanta and Las Vegas and that’s an indication that we should be good on the 1.5, 2-mile tracks.”
Another reason Truex likes the California race is because of the aging and rough track surface at Auto Club Speedway.
"California is a really fun racetrack,” explained Truex. “The track presents plenty of challenges and downforce definitely comes into play because of the high speed corners. For how fast we’re going at California there’s not much banking, and then of course, the track is getting pretty old. The seams between each lane are not only wide but also slippery. It’s a really, really bumpy track.
“We saw last year a bunch of left-side tire failures because of the track being so rough. There's definitely a lot to deal with there. However, I am excited about going to California with our Furniture Row Chevrolet.”