Martin Truex Jr. has had better race cars and better finishes, but his eighth-place result Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the second Chase race was one of the most gratifying in the past couple of months.
"Everybody sucked it up today and I mean everybody," said Truex, who posted his 18th top-10 finish of the season. "We probably didn't have a top-10 car today, but we sure executed with precision in all facets of the race. The pit strategy was perfect, the pit stops were fantastic, no mistakes all day and I felt I got everything plus a little bit more out of our Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet. This is what it takes. When the car is off everyone needs to step up and that's what we did today. I am so proud of this team."
Truex added, "We're still in this thing but a lot of work is ahead of us with one race remaining before the first cut of Chase drivers is made. We need to do the same thing next week at Dover. Race smart, stay clean and no errors."
Truex currently sits ninth in the Chase point standings. He is three points from sixth and 15 points ahead of the 13th-place driver. After next Sunday's race in Dover, 12 of the 16 Chase drivers advance with a clean slate to the next round of three races.
Getting back to the Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire's Magic Mile - when Truex exited his No. 78 Chevrolet he was greeted with a reception of high-fives from his Furniture Row teammates.
“We needed this really bad today," said Truex. "We worked hard all weekend. We didn’t have the speed we needed in the race car. We really struggled all weekend with it. We struggled again in the race today. Fortunately we were pretty good on restarts for a few laps and were able to get our track position. I thought Cole (Pearn, crew chief) called a perfect race. We did two (tires) once and it worked out just perfect. We had a little tough luck last week. We caught a few breaks this week, so it’s nice that it went the other way for once. Now we are going home (Truex's home track) next week and looking forward to seeing what we can do at Dover.”
Pearn, who is in his rookie season as a crew chief, was also excited about how the team performed.
"Martin drove his heart out again and it sure paid off," said Pearn. "We kept ourselves in good position and did what we needed to do. I wish the performance was better but finishing eighth was a huge accomplishment. Last week (Chicagoland) we were on the other side -- finished worse than we deserved and today we finished better than what we probably deserved. A good team effort."
Truex, who started 21st in the 300 lapper, didn't crack the top-10 until Lap 158. He bounced in and out of the top-10 from that point, but in the closing laps he was able to pick up a little more steam from his No. 78 Chevy to finish eighth -- his seventh career top-10 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The race winner was Matt Kenseth. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Truex, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman.
There were 16 lead changes among seven drivers and nine cautions for 41 laps. There was also one red flag for approximately six minutes.