DENVER, Colo. (March 19, 2014) – In three of the first four Sprint Cup races Martin Truex Jr. knows he has had a car capable of finishes in the top-10 or better. But mechanical woes and other issues overshadowed the strong performances of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet.
“If you look at where we sit in the point standings (29th) one would assume that we’ve been struggling in the early part of the season,” said Truex. “Not so. The truth is our Furniture Row Chevrolets have had the speed to run in the top-10 except probably for Phoenix where we finished 22nd.”
Truex qualified on the outside pole for the Daytona 500 and felt this was the best chance of his career to win NASCAR’s biggest race. But a broken oil pump belt sent him home early with a 43rd-place finish.
Two weeks later at Las Vegas, he was running sixth late in the race, but a backfired pit-road strategy relegated him to a 14th-place result. Last Sunday in Bristol, Truex found his rhythm as the race was winding down, running in the top-15 and charging. But a broken track-bar mount on lap 423 of 500 basically ended his day at the half-mile oval, finishing 36th.
Truex and the Denver-based single-car team are looking to seal the deal in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
“We can’t change what happened but we can learn from what has happened,” noted Truex. “Those last four races are over and now it’s all about California, a track that I really, really like. Auto Club Speedway has developed into a great racetrack over the years. It’s no longer a single lane venue. Even though you can run all over the wide track, it’s still very difficult there because it eats the tires off the car so fast. A tough track to get the car dialed in for.”
Not only does the 33-year-old New Jersey native like the two-mile track, but he also has fond memories of the Southern California facility.
“This is where I clinched my first Chase berth back in 2007,” recalled Truex. “That was back when California hosted two races. It was a different track then, not like today with it being old, bumpy and rough. Just the way I like it. I have good vibes for this weekend.”