Cracking The Bristol Conundrum
April 10, 2018
It doesn’t get any easier for Martin Truex Jr. after experiencing an unexpected, race-ending problem in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
While running second in Texas, the Furniture Row Racing driver took a severe hit when his car shot up the track into the concrete wall due to a flat tire on Lap 80 of 334.
For Truex to make a rebound he will have to contend with one of the most challenging tracks on the circuit – Bristol Motor Speedway – site of this Sunday’s Food City 500.
“Difficult situations can surface at Bristol in a blink of an eye,” Truex explained. “Things happen so fast you just try to process everything while keeping calm and focused. However, that is really difficult to do at Bristol with all that goes on there. Cars are everywhere.”
Truex, who will drive the blue Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota at Bristol, has seen the good, bad and ugly at the high-banked, half-mile oval, known as The Last Great Colosseum.
“For me Bristol has been an up and down place as far as getting good finishes,” Truex noted. “This race last year I thought we had the car to beat. Led late until I got caught speeding on pit road. Bristol is one of those places you have to be perfect all day in order to win.
“We’ve had some strong races, including wins, with the No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance blue paint scheme and hopefully it will give us another positive lift this weekend.”
Along with seeing potential strong finishes slip away at Bristol over the years, Truex also suffered a fractured wrist at the summer race in 2013.
“Even though I have had my share of misfortunes at Bristol, I continue to feel confident about racing there and know that we have a shot of something good to happen on Sunday,” Truex stated.
With his last-place finish at Texas, Truex dropped from second to fifth in the driver point standings. But based on history, Truex is virtually a lock to qualify for the post-season playoffs as a result of his victory a few weeks ago at California’s Auto Club Speedway.
“We’ve had a solid start to the season,” Truex said. “What was frustrating about Texas was that we had a fast car which was only going to get better as the race wore on. But these things happen in a 36-race schedule and you have to put it behind you and turn all of your focus to the next race.”
The early exit at Texas snapped Truex’s streaks of five straight top-5 finishes and 10 consecutive top fives at a 1.5-mile track.
Truex’s career Cup record at Bristol Motor Speedway includes: 24 starts, two top fives, three top 10s and 230 laps led. His average starting position is 15.8 and finishing average 20.3.