By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
For the fifth straight race, your third-place finsher, MTJ.
Yes indeed, Martin Truex, Jr. got another third in Sunday’s Go Bowling 235 at the Daytona International Speedway road course, leading 10 of 65 laps.
Truex’s No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry had one of the strongest cars out of the 39-car field and it clearly showed as he made several passes all afternoon. A lot of them taking place in Stage 3 because he had to start at the rear of the field.
This was because Truex was too fast exiting pit road in Stage 2, but since the lane closes with two laps left, he couldn’t do a driver through penalty and while he crossed the line seventh, NASCAR reprimanded the No. 19 team by stripping him all of his Stage 2 points.
Later on, Truex had a rough time on pit road because the team struggled getting a wheel off due to earlier race damage, putting Truex once again behind the 8-ball.
However, as the race was winding down, regaining lost ground wasn’t an issue as he had moved up to the top-five late in the race. Truex got an opportunity to battle for the win once his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch cut a tire with five laps remaining.
Truex would restart fifth, but a shot for the win wasn’t meant to be as he gained two more spots and scored his eighth top-five of the year.
“Just a strong run for our Bass Pro Toyota. Thought we had a chance to win, no doubt about it. Just got caught speeding on pit road,” said Truex. “Had to go to the rear and then got damage so we had to go to the rear again. We passed a lot of cars that last run. I know we had the speed at the end there, we were faster than anyone. Just ran out of time, but that’s how it goes. Proud of everybody on the team and still feeling really good about these road courses.”
As one of the few drivers that had some experience on the Daytona road course, Truex actually had a great time running the 14-turn layout as the only other time he raced the road circuit (not including the added chicane) was the 2006 IROC race.
He even went on to say that stock cars are more suitable for this circuit than the Charlotte ROVAL which they’ll compete for the third time ever Sunday, October 11.
“It was a lot more fun than I anticipated it to be. My opinion, this track suits our cars better than the Roval does for whatever reason,” Truex on the circuit. “Even though the tire was really hard and not much tire wear, it was pretty slick out there. It was drivable and manageable. Charlotte kind of chatters and it’s hard to feel. This place was actually a lot of fun. I look forward to coming back.”
With the next road race not taking place for another two months, the Cup Series will head to Dover International Speedway for its third and final doubleheader of the year. Both races of the Drydene 311 will take place Saturday and Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Truex is the most recent active driver that conquered the “Monster Mile,” winning last June’s event.