By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – The PJ1 traction compound is supposed to create more competitive racing. The compound was applied once again to the racing surface at Charlotte Motor Speedway. One driver who is optimistic about the compound is Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points leader Martin Truex, Jr.
Truex ran well in the Coca-Cola 600 in May, the last time the series visited the 1.5-mile D-Shaped oval. He won one of the three stages and led 233 of the 400 laps. The only difference between the Bank of America 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 is the time of day the race is scheduled to take place.
Truex believes that as the weekend goes on, the PJ1 will get better,
“I think as we move through the weekend it’ll get better and better. Last time we were here, there was none on the track on Friday. So when we were doing – we were the first ones on track then as well and of course we had the All-Star race the weekend before. We were able to get on the race track with it being normal and make our qualifying runs and qualify and then they put it on the track later on. I think had we all been in race trim, I don’t know that it would have been quite as big of a deal as it was, but at the same time it was difficult to be the first ones out there – lot of people in q-trim trying to make only four or five total laps in practice and be able to put it all together.”
“I think we just need some cars to run on that stuff and wear it in and get the track kind of prepped. Certainly I don’t think anyone expected it to be as challenging as it was. Maybe for the future we definitely need to look at a different way to prep the track so when we go out there guys aren’t running into the wall.”
Truex is the No. 1 seed in the No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry entering the Bank of America 500, 18-points ahead of Kyle Busch. This season alone, he has five victories, 13 top-fives, 20 top-10s, 19 Stage wins, and two pole positions.
Although he is a favorite for the championship, Truex has a 15.67 average finish at Charlotte. In 24 career starts at the track, he has one victory, four top-fives, eight top-10 finishes, and one pole position.
Now Truex, crew chief Cole Pearn, and the entire Furniture Row Racing team will look to continue their performance at Charlotte.