By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – With a new sponsor onboard in his 50th career race, Ryan Truex gave it his all at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The NASCAR Xfinity Series driver was up front throughout the late stages of the Alsco 300, even contending for the win.
In the final laps, Truex ran second as he chased down race leader Brad Keselowski. His No. 11 Phantom Fireworks Chevrolet Camaro SS was glued to the bottom as Keselowski’s Ford Mustang pulled away. With the car not cooperating with the PJ1 traction compound, a brief rain shower that helped put Truex in position evened the playing field. However, a couple of late cautions took Truex’s chances for catching Keselowski away. He slipped outside the top-10, ending up scoring a season-best sixth-place finish.
Truex’s day was not without a scare. He bounced off the wall hard in the first stage of the race. Somehow, his Kaulig Racing machine was relatively undamaged in the incident. Late cautions at the end of both stages left Truex on differing strategies to the race leaders, weighing him down, outside the top-20.
“Well, it was eventful for sure,” Truex explained. “We missed it, honestly. I think with practicing at night and all of the VHT, we were just off. We were really good on the bottom, but there was so much grip on the top that we had to be up there, and my car didn’t want to be up there. I think after the rain delay, it washed all of that stuff off, and evened it back out. The bottom, I thought, was the best spot, and our car worked really well down there. It ended up working out well. We had a good strategy to get up there at the right time, and it rained, and it got the track to where I needed it, so it was perfect.”
The sixth-place finish is the fifth top-10 finish of the season for Truex, and the first since Richmond three races ago. He remains eighth in the Championship Standings, 117-points behind Points Leader Elliott Sadler, and 94-points ahead of the cutoff for the Playoffs, held by Michael Annett.
The top-10 gives Truex an added boost of confidence and momentum heading into one of his hometracks next weekend, Pocono Raceway.
“It’s big. Next week is such an unknown for everybody with the aero package that we’re showing up with. Nobody really knows what to expect, but these guys were really good last year with this aero package at Indy, so I’m confident that we’ll have good speed there. It definitely helps, anytime you can get momentum going it helps you out.”
Now Truex and his Kaulig Racing team will look into the unknown in next week’s race at Pocono.