Sometimes the fastest car doesn't win.
Martin Truex Jr.'s No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet proved that theory in Saturday night's rain-delayed Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway.
Truex's hot rod was unquestionably the dominant car in the 267-lap race, leading five different times for a race high 95 laps. But as the competition turned into a fuel-mileage race, a pit-road gamble on Lap 257 to take fuel only and forego two right-side tires backfired.
Truex started fifth on the final restart with six laps to go and dropped four positions to finish ninth in the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 that was red flagged for rain on Lap 99 for 2 hours, 15 minutes.
It was the 10th top-10 finish in the first 11 races for Truex, who remains second in driver points.
"Well, if we got two tires we would have come out sixth," said Truex in a post-event interview with FOX. "That would have been a pretty good starting spot to be in. But you never know how these things are going to play out. I hate fuel mileage racing because of that. Just proud of my guys for bringing a fast race car.
"Yeah, it is disappointing to run that good all night and finish wherever we did. But at the same time it's nice to run like that. Cole (Pearn, crew chief) got kind of put in a bad spot there at the end. I told him to keep his confidence up because he has done a good job all year long. We are going to get one. We just have to keep digging."
When rain fell on the 1.5-mile oval, Truex was on cruise control with nearly an eight-second lead.
"We were strong from the get go," said Truex, who came into the race with 32 laps led for the season. "Tonight we had a brand new Furniture Row Chevy and it definitely showed what we have in store for the future. The finish was awfully disappointing, but the future has never looked brighter for our race team."
The race winner was Jimmie Johnson. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Truex and Ryan Newman.
There were 16 lead changes among 10 drivers and nine caution flags for 49 laps.
To celebrate his 10th top-10 finish in the race team's 10th anniversary in NASCAR, Furniture Row will offer a 10-percent discount on all furniture, accessories and mattresses at its four retail stores – Sofa Mart, Denver Mattress, Bedroom Expressions and Oak Express. The 10-percent sale will commence on Sunday May 10, 2015 and conclude one week later on Sunday May 17.