It’s not just one that got away, but more like three that got away from Martin Truex Jr. when it comes to road course racing.
With the second and final NASCAR Cup Series road race of the season scheduled for Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Truex feels his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota will once again be contending for a trip to Victory Lane.
Two years ago at the central New York 2.45-mile road circuit, Truex felt he was in position to win the fuel mileage race, having enough gas in the tank to pass the leaders. But a cut tire as a result of contact with another car on a late-race restart squelched his shot at a victory.
“I thought we had that one, our strategy played out perfectly until we got rammed by another car,” recalled Truex.
Last year at the Glen, Truex was running down leader Denny Hamlin but on the final lap he got bumped from behind and spun out. He still managed to pull off a seventh-place finish.
“It was close, I was right there with Denny,” said Truex. “It would have been nice to see if we could have caught him.”
And back in June at the Sonoma Raceway road course Truex’s No. 78 Camry was the class of the field, but an engine failure late in the race sent him to the garage.
“Before the engine expired, we were running on seven cylinders and still posting one of the fastest laps – that’s how good of a car we had.”
Though he has missed out on some recent road course victories, Truex knows how to finish off a NASCAR Cup road race. His second career win came at Sonoma Raceway in 2013.
“All we want this weekend is a similar performance to what we had in our recent road races,” said Truex. “Those were winning performances but problems beyond our control prevented our Furniture Row Racing team from getting the victory. Sooner than later the road races have to play in our favor.”
After 21 races, Truex has scored three wins, eight top fives and 14 top 10s. He leads the driver standings by an 85-point margin. He also leads in playoff points with 29. The driver who ranks No. 1 after the 26-race regular season will earn an additional 15 playoff points.
Truex’s career record at Watkins Glen includes: 11 starts, three top fives and six top 10s. His starting average is 15.9 and finishing average is 13.1. He has completed 100 percent of the laps – 992 out of 992.
The 90-lap I Love New York 355 at the Glen will consist of three stages of 20/20/50 laps (laps 20/40/90).