Truex Jr. Runner-up in Las Vegas; Moves to 4th in Driver Points
March 8, 2015
Martin Truex Jr. came on strong to finish second in Sunday's Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The runner-up result gave Truex his third straight top-10 and moved him from fifth to fourth in the driver point standings. It was also his best finish since joining Furniture Row Racing following the 2013 season.
Though Truex's No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet was at its best during the last quarter of the 267-lap race, he fell short of overtaking current NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick, who beat Truex to the checkered flag by 1.640 seconds.
Truex's strong early-season pace also includes a runner-up and fifth-place finish in the two non-point races conducted during Daytona Speedweeks.
Truex started the Las Vegas race from the eighth position and ran in the top-10 and top-five all day, except when green-flag pit stops were cycling through.
"I'm just really proud of everyone," said Truex. "I’m obviously very proud of Sherry (Pollex, girlfriend) and what she’s been through and everything I’ve learned from her to be a better person. But I’ve just got to thank everyone at Furniture Row and ECR engines and everybody back at the shop in Denver for all their help.The guys made good decisions. So, we’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing and find a little bit more speed. Harvick was so fast all day. I got the lead on him once on a restart, but we didn’t have anything to hold him off. We’ll keep working and we’ll get better and hopefully this is a sign of things to come.”
Truex took the lead from Harvick on Lap 145. After Truex led for three laps, Harvick retook the lead.
"When asked if he had a shot to catch Harvick at the end, Truex said, "He was getting bigger, but I believe he was playing with everybody. He was just really, really strong. I was proud that we fought the way we did. We were off a bit at the start of the race, and got better throughout the day. At the end of the day we were the best that we were all day. Those guys (Harvick) have been really strong for a year. And we are just getting our stuff rolling. Hopefully we'll get our Chevrolet tuned up and be able to run with them soon."
As it turned out, Harvick was having issues with his Chevrolet, but not enough laps were remaining for Truex to take the lead.
"It was just a solid weekend," noted Truex. "We were strong on Friday, and after two outstanding practices on Saturday we knew we had a hot rod that would contend for the win. Today we came up a little short, but there'll be more opportunities to get that win. Right now we're having a lot of fun. Our guys led by Cole (crew chief Cole Pearn) have consistently done a great job."
Finishing positions 3-10 went to: Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, AJ Allmendinger, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano.
The race had 18 lead changes among nine drivers and there were six cautions for 28 laps.
The next race is Sunday (March 15) at Phoenix International Raceway.