Truex Remains Confident in Defeat

M.Truex Jr.

Truex led nearly two-thirds of Sunday's STP 400 at Kansas Speedway before finishing second to Denny Hamlin. (Photo: Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – He came up short of winning his first race in nearly five years, but Martin Truex Jr. is still very upbeat about his prospects for 2012.

Truex led a race-high 173 laps of Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway, opening an eight-second lead at one point during the first half of the race.  But he doesn’t have a trophy to show for the effort because Denny Hamlin passed him with 31 laps to go and went on to take the checkered flag.

Although Truex had one of the most dominating cars in recent weeks, the Michael Waltrip Racing driver wasn’t able to capitalize to notch his second career Sprint Cup Series victory.  Color Truex disappointed ... but not discouraged.

“We had them," Truex said.  "I don’t know what happened with that last set of tires, they were terrible.  I was wrecking-loose for the first 20 laps of that last run and Denny was able to get by me.  Once he did, the race was over.”

As Truex points out, when Hamlin worked his way into the lead, he was gone - although the MWR driver did try one last-ditch effort to reclaim the lead racing out of Turn 4 but couldn’t make it stick.

“I was a little faster than Denny at the end, but he was running against the wall - right where I needed to be - and I was just trying to gain a little bit of ground,” Truex explained.  “It was desperation, just trying something.  There was no chance of me even coming back to making it work.”

Truex may not have won Sunday, but the three-car MWR organization continues to work very well.  Teammates Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin were plagued by engine issues in the race but not before the trio of drivers turned in stellar qualifying efforts - all starting inside the top 10.

The fact that Truex, who took over sole possession of second place in the Sprint Cup Series point standings behind Greg Biffle after Sunday’s race in Kansas, is even in the mix seemingly on a weekly basis is evidence enough of the remarkable progression of MWR.

“To sit here and be disappointed with second place is saying something for us,” Truex said.  "We're looking forward to coming back to the racetrack.  I really enjoy working with this team.  They're doing a phenomenal job.  I can't even tell you how much fun we're having.

“Once I get over the defeat, I'm going to look at all the positives and there are a lot of positives we can take out of this weekend and so far this season.  We're not nearly as good as we can be, and we're going to keep pushing forward and try to keep getting better.  I know our wins are going to come soon.”

That’s the takeaway Truex will leave Kansas with and move on to next Saturday night’s stop at Richmond International Raceway.  Although it might be 176 races since his last Cup Series victory, he sees an end to that drought very much in sight.

“As disappointed as I am with second place, this is a big day for us as a team,” he said afterwards.  “It's kind of a statement that 'We're here for the long haul.  We're here for the rest of the season.'  We're not just a flash in the pan.  We've been solid each week and I know our wins are going to come.  We just need to keep running like we are.”

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