Martin Truex Jr. led three times for 49 laps and enjoyed a comfortable lead when he came down pit road for fresh tires and fuel on Lap 273 of 334. But a pit road glitch pretty much doomed Truex’s chances of winning Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Truex's No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota fell back and took the checkered flag in eighth place, the fourth top-10 finish of the season for the Furniture Row Racing driver. It was also his fifth-straight top 10 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Erik Jones, Truex’s 20-year-old teammate, had a number of issues as he finished 22nd in his No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota. He not only had to start the race in the rear of the field as a result of crashing his primary car in practice and not making a qualifying attempt in his backup car on Friday, but also had to contend with handling problems, pit road trouble, tire issues and even a plastic bag that got stuck to the car’s grille.
When asked if there was anything he learned from Sunday’s race, the rookie said, “There’s nothing we can really take away and nothing that will apply to our next time here. Just need to get our stuff better and have a better car.”
Truex, who picked up 10 bonus points for finishing second in Stage 1 and 10th in Stage 2, remains third in the overall driver points while Jones ranks 14th.
“It was an up and down race – track position was everything,” said Truex. “We had a good car at times and we struggled at times. The track was really, really difficult and the tires were definitely a challenge. It seemed like every time we put a set on, the car was a little different. We weren’t good on restarts and short runs and we’d lose all our track position that took us so long to get. Overall, it was a decent day, but needed to be better on short runs for sure"
Truex added, “Once (Kevin) Harvick got me out of the pits I used my tires up and then the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) jumped on me and then I was done. That’s the way it goes and that’s the way racing plays out. The guys did a good job with our Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota Camry and we changed about everything on the car from yesterday so hats off to them, they did a good job with it.”