On Sunday, Martin Truex Jr. led the most laps in the Sprint Cup Series for the fourth consecutive race. However, unlike the previous three events, the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet led the final circuit.
Truex spoke about his victory Wednesday, which snapped a 69-race winless streak, dating back to a road-course victory at Sonoma Raceway in 2013 when he competed for Michael Waltrip Racing.
“Well, it’s really hard to put it into words just what it meant,” Truex said. “You know, I think honestly this whole season has been just so much fun for us as a team and as a group…After kind of what we went through last year, learning each other, learning more what not to do than anything and then really bringing it into this season, it’s just been a pleasure to work with the team.
”The win was kind of an exclamation point on really the start of the our season, but we’ve had a lot to be happy about, a lot to be excited about, and honestly just looking forward to the rest of the season and seeing what we can do now that the pressure is off and we can go to work on getting ready for the last 10 (chase races).”
After finishing 24th in points in his inaugural season driving for Furniture Row Racing, Truex is currently sitting second in the standings. He has recorded 13 top 10 finishes in 14 races — a mark he shares with point leader Kevin Harvick — and with his win Sunday, Truex has officially qualified for the Chase.
Despite enjoying the best season of his 12-year career, Truex — who is in a contract year after signing a two-year deal at the beginning of last season — says he hasn’t entered in contract negotiations with the organization. However, he’s optimistic those negotiations will ensue, especially after the victory.
“We haven’t really talked about it,” Truex said. “You know, with the team that we’re building, that we’ve built, I feel like this is the kind of situation that I’ve really looked for my whole career. You know, the guys have done such a great job and they’re so good at what they’re doing, and we have such a great group. You know, I feel like this team is special.”
Truex believes the chemistry he is building with first-year crew chief Cole Pearn has the chance to be special if the duo has the opportunity to work together for several more years.
“You look over the years at Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson and the team that they built, and what (Jeff) Gordon did with (Ray) Evernham back in the day,” Truex said. “This team has that feel of it’s just special, and they’re doing special things.”
The Sprint Cup Series will make a stop at Michigan International Speedway this weekend before going out west to the road course in Sonoma — a place Truex truly enjoys visiting.
”It’s a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do out there this year with this team and the momentum that we have, and the confidence we have in each other and just the race cars the guys are building are just incredible,” Truex said. “Definitely looking forward to getting out there and using what I know about the racetrack, and hopefully getting that second victory there.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.