Martin Truex Jr. battled back from a spin out to post a 12th-place finish in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.
Truex started the race leading the first 10 laps. But while cruising up front, the Furniture Row Racing driver encountered his first problem of the day. A piece of paper (possibly a hot dog wrapper) got stuck on the car’s grill, causing the water temperature to rise. To prevent possible engine damage, Truex was instructed by team crew chief Cole Pearn to drop back behind the second-place car (Joey Logano) to facilitate the paper from blowing off the grill.
“Our Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota was awesome in clean air and we were rolling right off the bat,” said Truex. “The paper debris on the grill was too bad, but nothing major at that point of the race.”
The wrapper on the grill was indeed minor to what was about to happen to Truex.
Following a green flag pit stop on Lap 46 of 200, Truex returned to action in second place, but a short time later he and Clint Bowyer got close to each other in a turn and the result sent Truex spinning into a smoky-like burnout.
The incident forced Truex to make two unscheduled pit stops for repairs, which pretty much ended any hopes of bringing his flat black Toyota to Victory Lane.
“It just wasn’t our day, a tough one for sure,” said Truex. “Leading and having a spin out like that with a lapped car definitely hurt our chances. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Clint and I talked after the race and there were no hard feelings. Just one of those racing deals.”
After the spin out, Truex went from a major contender all the way back to the upper 20s in track position.
“Running in traffic was very difficult,” noted Truex. “If you got behind somebody you were absolutely junk. All-in-all we had a good car, better than 12th, but had some weird things happen to us.”
After 15 races, Truex is eighth in driver points and eighth in Chase playoff points.
The FireKeepers Casino 400 winner was Joey Logano. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray and Kurt Busch.
The race had 14 lead changes among eight drivers and there were nine cautions for 46 laps.
Truex and the No. 78 team will test Monday at Kentucky Speedway and then enjoy an off Father’s Day weekend. The next Sprint Cup Series race will be at the Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway road course, Sunday June 26.