Friday’s opening practice session for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway falls on the same day that Americans pay tribute to the men and women who served in the United States military.
Veterans Day, the annual federal holiday that is celebrated on Nov. 11, takes on a special importance for Furniture Row Racing and its nine team members, who served in the U.S. military – Henry Benfield (Army), Gregg Huls (Marine Corps), Barry Huston (Navy), Charlie Krauch (Army), Chuck Lemay (Navy), John Parks (Marine Corps), Craig Phillips (Air Force), Chris Taylor (Marine Corps) and team owner Barney Visser (Army).
“We are all proud of our members at Furniture Row Racing who served in the military,” said team driver Martin Truex Jr. “We salute not only our team military veterans, but to all the men and women who have made sacrifices to defend our freedom.”
Truex will take the military spirit along with a momentum rebound into a different form of battle as he prepares for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race in his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota.
After falling out of Chase contention in Round 2 of the playoffs two weeks ago, Truex’s “Never-Give-Up” fight lifted him to a pair of strong performances at the last two races. He is coming off a third-place finish at the recent race in Fort Worth, Texas. The week before he posted a seventh-place result in Martinsville, Va.
Truex led a total of 213 laps in the last two races – 147 in Martinsville and 66 in Texas. His season lap-leading total stands at 1,809 and his four season victories are tied for most wins.
“Except for Talladega (finished last with engine issue), we’ve been consistent since the Chase started,” noted Truex. “We obviously feel we belong in the hunt for the championship but we’re not. But the next best thing we can do is continue our momentum in the final races and hopefully bring home a victory or two.”
If you take away the Talladega result, Truex’s average finish in the other seven Chase races is 6.1. Counting Talladega’s 40th-place finish the average would be 10.3.
“Those numbers prove how difficult and competitive the Chase is,” said Truex.
Truex posted a 14th-place finish at the spring race in Phoenix. His overall record at the 1-mile oval is: 21 starts, one top-five, seven top-10s, one pole and 101 laps led. His average start is 12.0 and average finish is 16.8.