Truex Jr. Finally Gets Good Finish
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on April 28, 2014 | 10:26 A.M. EST
"Nothing fell out of the sky and hit us. We kept the air in the tires all night. We worked hard on it."
Martin Truex Jr. was in desperate need of a good performance and it came in Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
After starting the year on a frustrating note with a series of bad finishes punctuated with mechanical problems, crashes and bad luck, Truex Jr. finally lived up to the expectations he had going into the season at RIR.
“Nothing fell out of the sky and hit us,” Truex said after scoring his best finish of the season. “We kept the air in the tires all night. We worked hard on it.”
While Truex Jr. was grateful for the effort, he felt the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet was even better than what the final results may have indicated.
“I thought we had a shot at a top-five there, but the short runs were just killing us,” Truex. “We just couldn’t take off for the first 15 or 20 laps of a run. All those guys up there were really fast and we weren’t. We had a really good car on those last couple of long runs, but we had short runs at the end. We have to figure out how to get that short run going. Those long runs toward the end, we had something for them.
“It was a good day for us.”
Truex Jr. started the 400-lap race from the 22nd position and moved toward the front of the field by the halfway point. He was no worse than 11th as the race headed into the final 100 laps and eventually moved up one spot to give him his first top 10 as a member of the Denver-based organization.
“We didn’t have a great car in the beginning,” said Truex Jr. “We fell back once, got off, got really tight in the middle part of the race, and (crew chief) Todd (Berrier) did a really good job getting it back.”
Truex Jr. was able to move up a position in the Sprint Cup Series point standings and heads to next week’s race at Talladega Superspeedway 27th.
However even if the numbers still aren’t very impressive, Truex Jr. thinks Saturday night’s performance will be the foundation for even better things to come.
“I think the biggest thing is finally shaking bad luck,” he said. “We’ve had good cars all year. We’ve had top-10 cars a lot of the races, not all of them. The team’s done a good job and we have had some weird things happen. We’ve had a lot of tire problems, obviously, but at the end of the day, we focus on how we’ve been running.
“You have to take something good out of each week, no matter how bad it went, and we just keep doing that and building on it. The guys are doing a good job, so we obviously have to get a little bit better. We’re chipping away at it.”