Truex Jr. Keeps Rolling, Finishes 8th in Southern California
March 22, 2015
Martin Truex Jr. fought through a number of problems as he willed his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet to an eighth-place finish in Sunday's Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race.
Truex has not finished lower than eighth in the first five races of the season, equaling a personal career best of five consecutive top-10 results, set in 2012. The top-10 finish at Auto Club Speedway also equaled the number of top 10s that Truex achieved all of last year, his first season with Furniture Row Racing.
Truex, who led five laps Sunday, remains third in driver points, five markers behind second-place Joey Logano and 33 behind leader Kevin Harvick.
"It's been a great start to the season for our Furniture Row team with five straight top 10s," said Truex. "We just need to keep it going and try to improve each week."
Considering the issues the single-car team faced during the weekend, the eighth-place result turned out to be a performance of savvy team engineering and a special driving tenacity by the 34-year-old Truex.
"We were way off after Saturday's final practice but came out today and did what we needed to do," explained Truex. "I am proud of the guys for going to work last night and not being afraid to take a big swing at the setup. To go out there and run with a completely different setup than we had Friday and Saturday and come away with an eighth-place finish really says something about this team. We never give up and believe in each other. As mad as I was with the pit crew today I still feel they are good and we'll get it right."
Said crew chief Cole Pearn, "Martin drove his heart out and he fought it right to the end."
Truex, who had to come from the back of the field a number of times during the 209-lap overtime race, was running comfortably in fifth place when the final caution came out, which sent the race into a second green-white-checkered restart.
"On that last restart I wasn't in the best spot and lost some ground (fifth to eighth)," noted Truex. "On the previous restart I was able to make a good gain in track position (ninth to fifth)."
Truex added, "Considering all the obstacles that we had to contend with this weekend, I am happy with the finish," said Truex. "It appears that the tire test we conducted here last fall actually hurt us because we came here thinking what we needed to have based on that test. It turned out we didn't have the proper setup until last night. I just wish we could have started the weekend with the tune-up we had today."
The race winner was Brad Keselowski. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, Truex, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.
There were seven caution flags for 31 laps and 19 lead changes among nine drivers.
The next Sprint Cup Series race is Sunday March 29 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.