After two consecutive races of body slams that resulted in early exits, Martin Truex Jr. wants to see more green in the Bluegrass state during Saturday night's Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. The race marks the midpoint of NASCAR's 36-event Sprint Cup Series schedule.
Truex retired from the Sonoma, Calif. road race two weeks ago on Lap 28 of 110 after being knocked off the track. The following weekend at Daytona International Speedway he got collected in an 11-car melee on Lap 105 of 161.
"That's a lot of green flag laps we missed out on," said Truex. "No question, we had a rough two weeks in terms of points. We were a victim of circumstances in both Sonoma and Daytona. Our Furniture Row Chevrolet was fast in both of those races but never got to the end in each to show our strength. Those were two weekends to forget.
"We're looking forward to Kentucky-- it's our kind of racetrack -- an old, worn out bumpy mile-and-a-half oval. We've had success at tracks like Kentucky, but a new aero rules package will be in place at this race. There's going to be a learning curve to deal with but I am confident about our situation. Our Furniture Row guys have been really good about figuring out things quickly."
Figuring out things quickly could be construed as an understatement since Truex has been one of the top finishers this season in his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet. He has one victory, five top-fives and 14 top-10s. Though he lost out on a bunch of points the past two races with finishes of 42nd in Sonoma and 38th in Daytona, he sits fifth in the driver standings.
Truex hasn't mathematically clinched a Chase playoff berth, but is well on his way of being one of the 16 post-regular-season drivers vying for the 2015 Sprint Cup championship.
"We control our own destiny right now," noted Truex. "We won't let what happened to us the past two weeks knock the wind out of our sails. It's a long season and you're going to have some bad luck -- Daytona was an awful weekend -- we got collected in a practice accident that forced us to take out the backup car. Then two days later we got collected again in the race. We had fast cars the past two weeks like we had the previous 15 races. I don't expect anything different for the upcoming Kentucky race."
In four Cup starts at Kentucky Speedway, Truex has managed to score two top-10s -- eighth in 2012 and seventh in 2013. He has completed 100 percent of the laps in his four starts – 1068 out of 1068. Last year in his first season with Furniture Row Racing, Truex finished 19th in Kentucky.