The only thing that can surpass a birthday celebration and a special paint scheme for Martin Truex Jr. this coming weekend is a victory in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway.
Truex, who will turn 34 on Sunday, says his Denver-based Furniture Row Racing team is in need of a victory if it wants to qualify for the post-season Chase playoffs.
“Right now it’s going to be a victory that will get us into the Chase, not where we stand in points,” said Truex, who is 25th in the driver standings. “I feel Kentucky is a track that can deliver that elusive win. Without question, that would be the best birthday present.”
The good news for Truex is that he likes the worn-out Kentucky track surface. He claimed top-10 finishes the past two years at the 1.5-mile oval, located in Sparta, approximately 40 miles southwest of Cincinnati. His average finish in three career Cup starts at Kentucky is 11.0.
“Honestly, Kentucky Speedway is something different,” noted Truex. “It’s a rough racetrack but I think it’s fun to race on. I personally like the old bumpy, slick and worn-out tracks. Early in my career, I didn’t like these types of track. But right now I like them the most. I don’t know what has changed over the years -- either I figured out how to get my cars working on rough tracks or just have had better cars.”
Truex’s No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet will be wrapped with the World Vision colors, a Christian humanitarian organization that fights poverty and injustice in nearly 100 countries.
“I am confident that our Furniture Row Chevrolet with the World Vision paint scheme this weekend will be strong,” stated Truex. “We need another solid run, which we are capable of. Regarding World Vision, it will be an honor to drive a car with the World Vision colors. What they do to help children and families around the world is truly amazing.”
While Truex has plenty to look forward to at Kentucky, he needs to snap a two-race jinx of being involved in early incidents.
Two weeks ago in Michigan he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when his car suffered major damage in a multicar accident on Lap 8. At Sonoma on Sunday, it was on the first lap that Truex took a hit that curtailed his performance.
“Those were bad breaks, but they are over with and the focus is on Kentucky,” said Truex. “I don’t know why we find ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, but we have to just keep plugging away.”