For the second week in a row, Martin Truex Jr. had to fight through adversity to keep his chances alive in Round 2 of the Chase.
The Furniture Row Racing driver finished 11th Sunday at Kansas Speedway and will take a 13-point margin into the Chase’s final race of Round 2 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (Oct. 23). Eight of the 12 drivers after Talladega will continue the pursuit for the Sprint Cup Series season championship. (see Chase standings below)
Truex started the Hollywood Casino 400 fourth and eventually moved into second place when he came down pit road for a green flag pit stop on Lap 86 of 267. While on pit road there was a problem of getting the full amount of fuel into the car.
With less fuel than his competitors Truex was forced to make his next pit stop earlier than scheduled. And to add to the bad luck, when he did pit under green for additional fuel, the caution came out while his No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota was still in the pit stall.
The unscheduled stop coupled with the caution coming out while on pit road sent Truex back to 20th place.
“No doubt, we had a couple of issues today that stopped our momentum,” said Truex. “We had a good car, but not a great car. Our Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota was tight on short runs. We had that problem of getting fuel in the car and that forced us to make a stop out of sequence. From that point on we just battled as best we could. When we were back in traffic it was hard to pass and get to where we were before the fuel issue.”
Later in the race the right-rear tire on Truex’s Toyota was experiencing a rub, which caused concern that the tire could eventually go flat. That made for an easy decision to pit when the final caution came out on Lap 237. On that last pit stop the top-six cars decided not to pit in favor of track position.
“We didn’t really have a choice about making that last pit stop,” noted Truex. “You have to keep the big picture in play. A flat tire would have put us in a very difficult position to advance to the next round. Looking at everything we had to deal with today, it wasn’t a disaster, and we’re still in the hunt.”
Last week in Charlotte, Truex was running third late in the race but a faulty clutch sent him to a 13th-place finish.
“No one said this was going to be easy,” said Truex. “You just keep on battling, that’s all you can do.”