Martin Truex Jr., who finished 12th in his last three Sprint Cup Series starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, feels he can improve upon those results in Sunday's Sylvania 300.
The optimism is based on what his Furniture Row Racing team learned in the July race at the New England facility.
“New Hampshire has been a difficult track for me the past couple of years,” said Truex, who is competing in his third career Chase. “But we learned a ton the first time there this year. We went there with a completely different mindset. We came up with a new setup package and it worked really well for us. We had a fast Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevy all weekend long. We qualified well and raced well.
“We didn't get the finish (12th) we had hoped for because of an untimely caution after a green flag pit stop. That put us a lap down and we had to battle back through the field. We had a great race car, had a different package and something that I think we can fine tune and find more speed.”
The 12th-place finish at New Hampshire in July could have easily been a top-five result for the Mayetta, N.J. native. While comfortably running in sixth place on the 1-mile flat track and turning lap times quicker than some of the cars in front of him, Truex came down pit road under green for his final stop with 55 laps remaining. But the early timing of the green-flag pit stop for tires and fuel turned out to be an unlucky break.
Six laps later a caution came out and Truex found himself stuck in 23rd place on a track that is known for its high degree of difficulty to pass on. But Truex sucked it up, kicked it in to another gear and drove tenaciously in the final 43 laps, picking up 11 spots in his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet.
“It seems like we’ve had so many things go against us lately, but we haven’t been knocked out,” noted Truex. “We have the performance to compete, just have to watch out for the land mines or something that could catch you off guard, like what happened to us at Chicagoland Speedway.”
In Sunday’s Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway, Truex was positioned in sixth place and gaining on the fifth-place car when a caution came out with eight laps remaining. He came down pit road for two tires and restarted fourth for the five-lap shootout. The restart went awry for Truex, who found himself “bottled up” in traffic and fell back to a 13th-place finish.
“A pretty good day at Chicagoland turned into a very disappointing day,” stated Truex. “We gave up some valuable points, but that’s in the past and the focus right now is to get it done on Sunday in New Hampshire.
After the Chase opener, Truex is 11th in the Sprint Cup point standings.
In 19 Cup races at New Hampshire, Truex has three top fives, six top 10s and has led 148 laps. His average start is 12.7 and average finish is 14.3.