There are a number of reasons why Martin Truex Jr. can’t wait to strap himself in his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet for Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
First and foremost, he will be driving a new car that was assembled by the single-car team based in the Mile High City of Denver. Considering how his recent new cars have responded it’s easy to understand Truex’s excitement.
“I have had fast cars all year, and in the last four races I even had faster cars,” said Truex. “The guys at the Denver shop are building the latest and the greatest and I expect our new car for Michigan to be equally as good or better than the other new cars.”
Last week at Pocono Raceway Truex was handed a new car and took it right to Victory Lane, scoring his third career Sprint Cup win and his first with Furniture Row Racing. His performance was dominant, leading a race high of 97 laps.
At Kansas Speedway in mid May the No. 78 team unloaded a new car, which contended for the win while leading the most laps. Truex drove the same Kansas car in the ensuing races at Charlotte and Dover and the performances were just as strong, leading the most laps in each race.
The 454 laps that he led the past four races raised his total to 486 after 14 races. The only time Truex led more laps was during an entire 36-race season – 581 in 2007. Last year he led only one lap, his first season with Furniture Row Racing.
“You never look back when you’re not doing well and it’s the same principle when everything is going right – you always need to keep the focus on what’s ahead,” stated Truex. “We had our celebration on Sunday in Pocono, but now it’s back to the drawing board and making sure we keep on improving.
“You know that the big multicar teams aren’t going to be standing still. I have all the faith in our crew chief Cole Pearn, his engineering staff, our road crew, over-the-wall crew and all the guys back at the shop, who are working their butts off day and night to give me fast cars.”
Truex, who has scored 13 top-10 finishes in the first 14 races, ranks second in driver points and third in Chase points.
“Knowing that we most likely locked up a spot in the Chase is a great achievement for the entire Furniture Row Racing organization,” noted Truex. “We just need to keep heading in the right direction.”
According to the 34-year-old Truex, Michigan International Speedway ranks high on his list of venues.
“For me, Michigan is one of the most fun weekends of the year,” said Truex. “This is also home for Sherry (Pollex, girlfriend – native of Brighton, Mich.) and she would like nothing more than to make another trip to Victory Lane.”
Regarding the 2-mile Michigan circuit, Truex said he prefers the old track, but still feels comfortable on the new surface.
“The groove is beginning to widen out at Michigan and I am hoping that it will get back to where it used to be,” said Truex. “But wide groove or no wide groove, Michigan is a fun track to race on -- the speed there is incredible. It's also a hard place to pass cars without that wide groove. The old Michigan was so much fun because it was so wide you could run against the wall and you could almost run on the apron sometimes. However, Michigan is still a great track and there's a lot of great fans up in that area.”