Martin Truex Jr. Off to Best Start of His Careerby Kyle Pokrefky March 2, 2015 0 comments
Photo credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images
HAMPTON, Ga. — Following a sixth-place finish in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Martin Truex Jr. is officially off to the hottest start of his 10-year full-time Sprint Cup Series career.
Currently sitting fifth in the Cup Series’s driver standings after his sixth-place Atlanta effort and his eighth-place result in the Daytona 500, for the first time in his career, Truex Jr. has posted two top-10 results to open up his Sprint Cup season.
The accomplishment also extends to Furniture Row Racing, who have also opened up their season with two straight top-10 finishes for the first time in their history.
Truex Jr. ran well throughout most of the 325-lap race, running solidly in the top-20 for a majority of the day and breaking through into the top-10 in the closing stages of the race.
The driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet attributes the early momentum to the hard work put in by the Furniture Row Racing crew at the organization’s Denver-based shop over the offseason.
“A lot of hard work in the off-season,” Truex Jr. said regarding the catalyst of his success. “We started to gain a little bit of momentum last year towards the end of the year. We started to figure out kind of what our issues were. We really only had one race car that we could run good with or was consistent throughout our whole weekend.
“We needed the off-season to get things revamped, get things built, implement things we thought we understood. Obviously everything is working out so far pretty well. There’s definitely room for improvement, obviously there always is. But happy with the decisions that have been made.
“This is just a good start to the year for us again so we can start building on this, start building some consistency. If we can run towards the front each and every week, we’ll put ourselves in position to win some races. That’s ultimately what we’re here for.”
Truex Jr. and the No. 78 team’s Atlanta effort was a work-in-progress throughout the entire weekend. Running 24th in first practice and 21st in final practice as well as posting times outside of the top-15 in both test sessions at the track on Thursday, Truex Jr. and crew chief Cole Pearn worked on the car during Sunday’s race and were able to find some speed by the finish of the race.
“We were off a little bit in the test day on Thursday,” Truex Jr. said. “Felt good about the car on the longer runs, which is where we were best today. Didn’t have that short-run speed. Little things here and there.
“Cole and our engineer Jazzy did a good job all weekend, made good decisions. They tuned on the car throughout the weekend. We constantly got it better each run. Today again we made some good gains throughout the race.
“At the end of the day it was good work by all the guys. This is what we need to keep doing.”
Truex Jr. and the No. 78 crew head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400.
In nine career Sprint Cup races at Las Vegas, Truex Jr. has two top-10 finishes with a best finish of sixth coming in 2011.
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky