A tenacious Martin Truex Jr. charged to a sixth-place finish in Sunday’s FedEx 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway.
The result was Truex’s best finish of the season. His previous best of the 2014 season was 10th in April at Richmond International Raceway.
"All-in-all it was a good day,” said Truex, a New Jersey native, who claims Dover as his home track. “We battled from the beginning, lost the handling of the car for a while but our crew chief Todd Berrier made some great calls throughout the race and we were able to finish strong.
“You can just feel it that we're heading in the right direction. We also had a top-10 car last week in Charlotte but had a freak breakage occur with nine laps remaining.”
Truex started Dover’s 400 lap, 400-mile race from the 16th position and hung around the top-15 for the first 125 laps. But then his No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet kicked in with more speed with Truex moving into the top-10.
“We had it going there, but all of a sudden we lost grip and the right-rear tire was bouncing like a basketball,” noted Truex, whose first career Cup win came at Dover in 2007. “But once again Todd (Berrier) and Cole (Pearn, engineer) made good adjustments and we were back in a competitive form.”
Berrier made another calculated call at the end of the race when he decided not to pit with six laps remaining. At the time of caution Truex was positioned in eighth place.
“It was indeed the right call and that gave us the opportunity to pick up a few more spots,” stated Truex.
Speaking of pit stops, Truex was quick to praise his over-the-wall crew.
“One constant we’ve had all year were excellent pit stops, and today was a continuation of how good these over-the wall guys are,” explained Truex. “You know when you come into the pits there's a good chance you're going to gain spots.”
Truex said he feels his single-car team that is based in Denver, Colorado is turning the corner.
“We're a new team and takes a while to get all the pieces of the puzzle in place,” said Truex, who is 25th in driver points. “We're learning about this car and how to be competitive with it. We still have a ways to go but the feeling is upbeat knowing that we have more speed and can be more competitive.”
The race winner was Jimmie Johnson. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Truex Jr., Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Paul Menard.
The race had 18 lead changes among six drivers. There were two red flags for a total of 28 minutes and there were eight cautions for 41 laps.