Truex Jr. Slips to 8th After Contending for Win
April 9, 2017
Martin Truex Jr.’s eighth-place finish in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 was his fourth top-10 of the season and his fifth straight top-10 at Texas Motor Speedway.
But the final result was somewhat disappointing for the Furniture Row Racing driver, who contended for the victory late in the 334-lap race.
When Truex was called to pit road to make a green-flag four tire stop on Lap 273, he was leading the pack with a comfortable margin thanks to 44 consecutive laps led on the repaved 1.5-mile oval.
But a pit-road glitch shoved him back to fourth place. He was unable to get back up front due to restart and short-run problems he encountered throughout the race in his No. 78 Bass Pro Shop/TRACKER Boats Toyota. He lost a few more positions after a Lap 301 caution due once again to restart issues.
“We needed to be better on short runs for sure,” said Truex, who led three times for a total of 49 laps. “It was an up and down race – track position was everything. We had a good car at times and we struggled at times. The track was really, really difficult and the tires were definitely a challenge. It seemed like every time we put a set on, the car was a little different. We weren’t good on restarts and short runs and we’d lose all our track position that took us so long to get. Overall, it was a decent day."
Truex added, “Once (Kevin) Harvick got me out of the pits I used my tires up and then the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) jumped on me and then I was done. That’s the way it goes and that’s the way racing plays out.”
Truex, who started seventh, ran strong in the first stage, finishing second and picking up nine bonus points. He added another bonus point by finishing 10th in the second stage. In the overall driver point standing he remained third after seven races into the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season.
“The guys did a good job with our Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota Camry and we changed about everything on the car from yesterday so hats off to them,” said Truex in post-race interviews.
Jimmie Johnson won the race. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, Jamie McMurray, Truex, Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch.
There were 16 lead changes among six drivers and eight cautions for 35 laps.
The NASCAR Cup Series has Easter Weekend off and will resume action April 23 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.