Martin Truex Jr. has to stop seeing his car fail pre race inspections. Yet again, he had to forego a good starting spot and had to drop to the rear prior to the start of Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at the Kansas Speedway as a result of two failures in pre race tech.
Still, he managed to get up to 12th by the competition caution on Lap 25. The problem was, he just didn’t have much more than that. Truex, was eighth in both stages and finished ninth in his No. 19 Toyota.
“That’s about all we had,” Truex said post race. “We were eighth in both stages and then ninth at the end. We didn’t really have much more than that. If we could have got some track position at times, the really long runs were strong.
“Just restarts were really tough to fend people off. We just didn’t quite have the short run speed. Missed it a little bit there with it being so cool out, I guess. Just didn’t have what we hoped to have.”
Truex, now is likely facing a potential must win over the next two weeks. He dropped to 31 points below the cutline. It’s entirely possible to make that ground up, but to do so on the best of the best in the Round of 8, well it’s going to be tough.
He’s chasing Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott. Combined, that foursome has won 23 times this season. Truex, has only won once. All four of those drivers are capable of winning in each of the next two races. If they do, then Truex, has to make it in on points and those are four drivers that are going to be difficult to chase down.
Truex, has never won at Texas, the site of next Sunday’s race. He has won the las two times out on the Round of 8 finale at Martinsville though.
“We’ll do what we do,” Truex continued. “We’ll just keep fighting. Today is over. It’s wasn’t a terrible day by any means, but not what we needed to get to the final four.
“Try to pick it up for Texas next week and Martinsville should be good too.”
But, do they have the capability to turn this around?
“I know we can do it, “Truex said. Just a matter of hitting it really right. We’ve not hit it right in a while. We’re good enough to win at least and we’ve been close. We’ve been second, third and fourth a lot of times and today, ninth is unacceptable for us. That’s the way it goes and that’s racing. This stuff is hard. We’ll go back to work. I know we can win at one of the next two. We just have to hit it right.”