In Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Martin Truex, Jr. and his Furniture Row Racing team were once again one of the cars to beat, but nearly found themselves out of the equation after getting swept up in a crash at the end of the second stage.
Despite the damage sustained in the wreck, Truex was still able to rebound by the end of the race, scoring a top-five finish when all was said and done.
“I could not see anything and I was just approaching the smoke and I’m like, ‘Oh no, where am I going to go,” said Truex. “I mean, literally I couldn’t see anything and my spotter said go low. By then, it was kind of too late and I was already like to the smoke and I couldn’t commit. I just kind of like just kept slowing down and the 33 (Jeffrey Earnhardt) just came by me on the outside and hit me and spun me down through there, so just unfortunate, you know?”
“We were coming to the green-white-checkered to win the second stage, which would have been another bonus point, which would be helpful and, of course, you know we had damage and had to fight from the back of the pack the rest of the day, so proud of our effort to run fifth after all that, but it definitely hurt our day.”
After winning three races in the regular season and winning the regular season points title, Truex kept the momentum going last weekend by winning the playoff opener at Chicago and looked to be well on his way to making it two wins in a row but dominating the early going of the ISM Connect 300.
Truex started the day in fifth place and moved into the lead on lap 40, leading 109 of the next 110 laps when disaster struck. A spin by Kevin Harvick ahead of him blocked the track with copious amounts of smoke, impairing the vision of the cars behind him, including Truex, who would be one of five cars involved.
Driving away from the crash with damage to the left rear of his car, crew chief Cole Pearn led his crew through a quick repair of Truex’s Toyota, getting him back on track in short order.
Truex moved back into the top-10 in a matter of laps, but it was a two-tire pit stop with 33 laps to go that put Truex right back up front and in position to complete the comeback. Despite the track position advantage, two tires vs. four tires didn’t play into Truex’s hands as he would fall back to fifth place in the final running order.
Even though he wasn’t able to win, the comeback put other teams on notice that Truex and his team will continue to be a force to be reckoned with even after suffering damage and falling further back in the pack.