A strong team effort propelled Martin Truex Jr. and the Furniture Row Racing team to a sixth-place finish in Sunday's STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway.
It was the sixth straight top-eight finish to start the season for Truex, who set a career best of six consecutive top-10 results. He remains third in the driver point standings as the NASCAR circuit heads into an off weekend for Easter.
The top-10 finish also surpassed the five top-10s that Truex posted in 2014, his first season with the single-car Furniture Row Racing team.
After starting third at the .526-mile oval, Truex encountered a power steering leak in his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet. The problem resulted in three unscheduled pit stops to secure the leak following a Lap 54 caution. The issue sent Truex from 11th to 39th in track position.
"I can't believe I lose the power steering in the first run and come back to finish sixth," said Truex. "It was not any fun to drive the car at that point. I felt like my shoulder was going to rip off. The guys did an awesome job fixing the leak and fought all day just like we always do. I can't say enough about this team. It shows we never give up. It sure feels good to have a strong run at one of my worst tracks. Just can't believe we stayed on the lead lap after the power steering deal."
Truex not only stayed on the lead lap, he quickly came back and took over the lead for 23 laps (from Lap 97 to 119).
"We believe in each other and always feel we're never out of it," said Truex. "We've had fast cars all year and an incredible team chemistry."
Truex and crew chief Cole Pearn were quick to praise the over-the-wall crew for an outstanding job on the final stop of the race.
"They nailed it on the money stop and that's what you need if you're going to finish up front," stated Truex. "I was very proud of them."
Pearn, who is in his first season as crew chief with Furniture Row Racing, was equally proud of the team effort.
"We had a good car and that makes it easier to do the right things," noted Pearn. "The pit crew stepped up at the end and that's what really made the race. Before that we were pretty good but just got stuck on the outside. After the last pit stop we started on the inside and everything was good in the closing laps."
The final stop lifted Truex from 12th to ninth in track position. He gained another three spots by the time he took the checkered flag on Lap 500.