Tag Archives: Martin Truex Jr.

Only a Matter of Time: Truex claims long-awaited win at Pocono

Martin Truex Jr. hugs girlfriend Sherry Pollex after winning the Axalta 400 at Pocono Raceway. (Credit: @NASCAR on Twitter)
Martin Truex Jr. hugs girlfriend Sherry Pollex after winning the Axalta 400 at Pocono Raceway. (Credit: @NASCAR on Twitter)

Martin Truex Jr. is finally a winner.

The No. 78 team cashed their ticket in Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway, claiming victory after finishing in the top-10 in 12 of the last 13 races. His consistency wasn’t lost on anyone; media and fans alike waited for this moment to arrive.

The Richmond International Raceway scandal left Truex out of the Chase and with a bad taste in his mouth. After leaving Michael Waltrip Racing, his future looked bleak. He joined Furniture Row Racing, a one-car team that helped Kurt Busch get back on his feet. During 2013, Busch earned 11 top-10s and finished 10th in points. The New Jersey native decided to align with FRR and start all over.

It wasn’t going to be easy; 2014 was a difficult time for the No. 78 team, earning only one top-5 finish all season. The on-track struggle, however, wasn’t the only obstacle. Summer brought the news that Truex’s long-time girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She underwent surgery, and the treatments soon began. November brought the end of a trying season.

Changes were made, including a crew chief switch. Cole Pearn stepped in, who became the second crew chief from Canada. This turned out to be exactly what the team needed.

Truex’s win at Pocono is the third of his career, propelling him to third in the point standings and the Chase. As he rolled his Chevrolet into victory lane, Pollex was there to give him a hug that brought tears to everyone’s eyes. The win gave her something to smile about, even with eight months of chemotherapy still ahead.

Pocono was full of cautions and great racing, but nothing could top such a deserving win. It was only a matter of time.

The No. 78 team will try to ride the momentum into Michigan International Speedway, the two-mile track next on the schedule. There hasn’t been much success there for Martin Truex Jr., but this season is a season of change for him. Kevin Harvick, who finished second at Pocono, will definitely rival whatever the newest Chase driver can put down.

Action is abundant in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and it’s time to get excited.

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Johnson survives rain, late-race caution to win at Kansas

A lot of people dislike Jimmie Johnson, and that should make the six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion smile.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver soared to victory lane at Kansas Speedway after making a risky pit call. With less than 10 laps to go, crew chief Chad Knaus determined they would stay out while others went to refuel and get tires. Teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. followed his lead, putting HMS on the front row with six laps remaining.

Heavy hitter Kevin Harvick attempted to climb back into the battle but only made it to second. The Stewart-Haas Racing machine was stout all evening, staying in contention throughout the entire evening.

“Entire” means before and after the rain delay.

Mother Nature rained on the NASCAR parade once again, unleashing a monsoon right before halfway. The hiatus lasted more than two hours, allowing fans and drivers to refocus and relax. This time was vital to the No. 48 team, who struggled in the first half of the Spongebob Squarepants 400. The weather was the enemy, yet NASCAR won out.

Once the race started up again, the action was abundant. Periods of three and four-wide didn’t go unnoticed, and neither did the impressive work by Martin Truex Jr. The Furniture Row Racing team has been close every weekend, and Saturday night seemed like his night. Unfortunately, the team decided to come down pit road and put two tires on. He couldn’t gather enough steam to make a run at Johnson.

The driver of the No. 48 secured his third win of the season and the 73rd of his career. This puts him seventh on the all-time winners list, only three victories behind Dale Earnhardt Sr. He also celebrated his 200th top-five and 300th top-10.

People don’t like seeing the same person in victory lane over and over again. Kyle Busch can attest to that fact. However, the haters are a good sign. It means Johnson is doing something right. There’s no doubt he will win a seventh championship. It’s the “when” that’s up in the air, yet it might not be that way for long if he keeps up his winning ways.

Harvick wins at Las Vegas, while Truex and Allmendinger show strength

(Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Kevin Harvick is unstoppable.

After winning the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver refuses to back down at all costs. He asserted this fact with a win Sunday afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Harvick started 18th but quickly worked his way into contention. Once he grabbed the lead, nobody could pry it from his grip. Even if they did, it wasn’t going to be for long. The only issue came in the final laps; the driver radioed in that he felt a bad vibration. It wasn’t enough to throw the No. 4 team off their game.

He led 142 out of 267 laps on the way to his victory, a win that secures him a spot in the 2015 edition of the Chase. He is now the third different winner this season, joining Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson. It’s easy to see that Harvick is passionately seeking his next NSCS championship.

Unfortunately for Martin Truex Jr., that vibration didn’t develop into more. The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet finished eighth and sixth at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta, respectively. That team keeps getting better and better. After ending 2014 on a high note, everyone can feel the win coming for Truex. It’s only a matter of when.

A.J Allmendinger is on a similar streak. Although he ended up 20th in the Daytona 500, the JTG Daugherty Racing car claimed seventh at Atlanta and then sixth at Las Vegas. With two single-car operations making their presence known, it’s time for NASCAR and its fans to definitely take notice.

The majority of the Las Vegas race was mundane, yet there are always stories –like the valiant Harvick and the inspiring runs by Truex and Allmendinger—that give the event the life that it needs.

Where we left off: Sprint Unlimited thrills, signals NASCAR’s return

Matt Kenseth managed to thrive and capture the checkered flag in a carnage-filled Sprint Unlimited.

The exhibition race marks NASCAR’s return every year, and this year’s edition didn’t disappoint. Multiple cautions and two red flags kept fans’ attention as the 2015 season began at Daytona International Speedway.

Chaos began when Kyle Larson moved into Brad Keselowski, sending the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion through the grass and eventually to the garage. This occurred on lap 23, two laps before the first segment ended. Things died down a bit after the field went back to green.

Lap 44 is went it all went down. Greg Biffle tapped the rear of Jamie McMurray’s machine and caused a domino effect, one that swept up 14 cars in the process. The red flag halted action for about 15 minutes before racing resumed. However, that banner reappeared on lap 68 when Biffle, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, and Tony Stewart wrecked on the backstretch.

Kenseth, who’s won the Daytona 500 twice at Daytona, first took the lead on lap 10 and remained in the picture all night. The lead shifted hands various times, yet he held onto it when it mattered most. After a sluggish 2014, the former Roush-Fenway Racing driver isn’t letting that happen this time around.

His biggest threat –Martin Truex, Jr.—fought in the final laps yet didn’t have enough momentum to pressure the former champion. Truex, Jr.’s strong showing, however, is a blessing for him and his girlfriend Sherry Pollex, who battled ovarian cancer late last year. His valiant push signals focus and determination.

Although the sport took a few months off, it seems like it’s picking up right where it left off. After Kenseth performed his burnout, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano bumped and banged their machines on the cool down lap. The reigning champion was upset with the Penske Racing driver’s on-track behavior, and they confronted each other on pit road. Although only words were exchanged, it reminded fans of last year’s temper-fueled Chase.

Racing’s return didn’t just bode well for Matt Kenseth; fans everywhere rejoiced at the sight of fast cars and angry drivers. It’s like NASCAR never left.

Atlanta’s final Labor Day race results in Chase berth for Kahne

(Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)

The final Labor Day event at Atlanta Motor Speedway seemed to last forever. Maybe it never wanted to end. As the bizarre race played out, Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne was thankful the action ceased –especially when it worked in his favor.

Five-hundred miles is an exhausting amount, one that’s difficult to completely fill with excitement. Lulls ensued, yet they served as needed breaks from the crazy developments.

It all started with a cat. Or a squirrel. When leader Kevin Harvick radioed in early into the race, he quickly dodged a furry object. It was first regarded as a feline, but a clear photo showed that it was a tree-dwelling critter that took a wrong turn.

A caution soon came out –thankfully, it wasn’t for the squirrel. Instead, it was for some unwanted decoration on Jimmie Johnson’s machine. AJ Allmendinger’s tire shredded apart, and a shred flew up and hooked onto the No. 48’s hood pins. BOOM, streamers.

Oh, but the insanity didn’t stop there; on one of the many restarts, turn three was a crapshoot due to a large quantity of smoke drifting into the area. It seemed to be from an infield fire. Either way, it looked creepy.

The race mellowed out, and it was shaping to be a tight battle between second-place Harvick and a leading Kahne. The former has collected three wins this season, while the HMS driver hadn’t contributed to the team count. Kahne’s lead kept growing and growing and growing as he came closer to the white flag’s appearance…

…and then Kyle Busch drove through Martin Truex, Jr. He claimed it was a misjudgment, yet he rammed into him again once the No. 78 went into the wall. Truex and his team were understandably upset, searching for some consistency. The incident sent the field up for pit stops, and Matt Kenseth rose to the occasion. He took two tires, while Kahne and Harvick went with four. They fell back, chances seemingly diminished.

On the restart, Paul Menard got a horrible restart on his two tires and back up into Harvick. Joey Logano darted out of line and set them three wide. Eating and banging followed, and Harvick smacked the wall, chances killed. When the caution flew, Kahne was third, next to a surprisingly strong Danica Patrick.

Kenseth attempted to hang onto the final restart, but Kahne wasn’t having any of it. With an accidental wiggle from the No. 20, Kahne extended his lead and took the checkered flag. His first victory of 2014 gives him seventeen wins in his career.

Some other notable headlines: Winless Kenseth also secures a spot in The Chase, and Patrick claimed her career-best finish with sixth place.

With one race remaining until The Chase begins, things are getting tight. It’s no doubt that the Richmond International Raceway event will be exciting, but can it top Atlanta’s showing? That’s to be determined.

Dillon wins Daytona 500 pole, shares front row with Truex

Qualifying for the Daytona 500 is different from other races, and the Sunday before The Great American Race is the first half of the procedure; a regular, single-car qualifying session takes place, yet the only positions that matter are first and second. The front row is determined, and then two qualifying races set the rest of the field. Those events, the Budweiser Duels, will happen Thursday night and be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1.

In a three-hour TV slot, 49 cars put up times, beginning with NASCAR’s most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. The lineup was arranged by random draw, and rookies making first-time attempts were mixed in with seasoned veterans and champions. It’s a great way to start off the season.

Another great way? Having a huge storyline that fuels interest and enthusiasm. NASCAR got that today.

In the number that legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. made iconic, rookie Austin Dillon claimed the pole. When no one could knock him down, fans were split down the middle; half cheered and raved, while some were skeptical and playing conspiracy theorist. No matter the feeling, the No. 3 holding the top spot at Daytona International Speedway brought out emotion in everyone. Car owner and grandfather Richard Childress was visibly thrilled, for seeing his grandson and his old friend’s number come out on top.

That’s not the only feel-good story we’ll have heading into next weekend.

Second place goes to Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 78 for Furniture Row Racing, who also runs Earnhardt-Childress engines like Dillon. Truex raced for Michael Waltrip Racing last year, making The Chase yet affected by the Richmond International Raceway controversy in September. If being pulled from the “playoffs” wasn’t upsetting enough, the negative publicity shoved his main sponsor, NAPA Auto Parts, away from MWR. This resulted in him having to find another ride, but it hasn’t stopped him. The drive put the single-car team on the front row, the organization known for helping Kurt Busch get back on his feet last year. There’s no doubt that Truex is already doing great things to further Furniture Row Racing’s success.

After everything was said and done, I asked fans on Twitter to describe the qualifying session in one word. Here are some of the answers I received: meaningless, ugh, fixed, boring, and annoying. Sounds like people are ready for the new qualifying system, which begins at Phoenix International Raceway.

The Budweiser Duels will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 on Thursday, February 20th.

Monday brings brightness to Newman’s year

Ryan Newman has found a home.

Monday afternoon brought the news that Newman would be joining Richard Childress Racing next season, filling the No. 31 seat the once held Jeff Burton. This comes over a month after the driver was told he would not be back at Stewart-Haas Racing due to money issues. Weeks later, it was revealed Kurt Busch was hired by SHR, making the wound meet salt.

Yet, he had a reason to smile all along: during the week of the Daytona 500, owner Richard Childress spoke with Newman about plans for 2014. Now, everything is falling into place.

The deal is for three years. Luke Lambert will crew chief, while the No. 31 crew stays the same. Caterpillar will return as a sponsor.

As if his Monday couldn’t get any better, that night brought more life-changing news: Martin Truex Jr. was out of The Chase as one of the penalties given to Michael Waltrip Racingafter controversial moves at Richmond International Raceway Saturday night. Truex suffered a 50-point penalty before The Chase reset, which shoved him down to seventeenth in points.

This made the second wild card -and an exclusive Chase berth- fall into Newman’s hands. Clint Bowyer, who’s spin Saturday night somewhat led to the No. 39’s entrance into the playoffs, said that replacing Truex was “the right thing to do.”

The roller coaster summer has finally slowed down, playing in the favor of Newman, who seemed like the unluckiest man at one point. From no job to a new position and a spot in The Chase, happy days are here again.