Malfunction Forces Martin Truex Jr. to Take Early Daytona 500 Exit
February 23, 2014
A broken oil pump belt, resulting in an engine failure cut short Martin Truex Jr.’s day in Sunday’s Daytona 500, the opening race of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
Truex’s day ended on Lap 31 of 200. He was credited with a 43rd-place finish in his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet SS.
“Super disappointing,” said Truex, who was competing in his first points race for Furniture Row Racing. “I mean it’s definitely a tough break for the team. The car was super-fast today and I went to bed last night thinking that this was my best shot ever to win the Daytona 500. The car was just so good and we were just riding around, biding our time, being patient and trying to get to the end of this thing.”
Truex wasn’t sure what caused the oil pump belt to come off, seven laps before the race was red-flagged for thunderstorms and tornado warning.
“I don’t know if something came up off the race track and knocked it (oil pump belt) off or what,” explained Truex. “I will leave that to the engine guys. I don’t want to speculate. I just know the belt is not on there and it should be. You’ve got about two seconds warning when the belt comes off before it (engine) blows up. That is what happened.”
Truex added, “Anytime we could get two or three cars lined up with us we could pass guys on the bottom pretty good. That is difficult to do here. I felt great about the car and just a shame we didn’t get to hang around all day and show what we could do.”
Truex called Daytona Speedweeks a roller coaster.
“We had plenty of good and plenty of bad happen to us during Speedweeks,” stated Truex. “We qualified on the front row, was part of a multicar wreck in the qualifying race, had a fast race car in practice and then the malfunction today. I guess you would call that a roller coaster ride.”
At the time of this post-race distribution, the Daytona 500 was still on hold due to inclement weather.
The Sprint Cup Series continues next Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.