Martin Truex, Jr. Snags The Pole At Kansas

Martin Truex, Jr.
You can’t blame Martin Truex Jr. for looking ahead.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series leader didn’t need to win the pole position at Kansas Speedway, having already qualified for the Playoff’s Round of 8 with a victory two weeks ago at Charlotte.

But by posting the fastest lap in Friday’s knockout qualifying session at the 1.5-mile track, Truex got a leg up on a trip to the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, because the time trials at Kansas came with a significant bonus—first choice of pit stalls for the Oct. 29 Round of 8 opener at Martinsville Speedway.

For the record, Truex ran the fastest lap of the afternoon in the final round of qualifying for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400, covering the distance in 28.719 seconds (188.029 mph) to beat Kevin Harvick (187.682 mph) for the top starting spot by .053 seconds.

But Truex had to push his car to the limit in the final round to earn his third Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his second at Kansas and the 15th of his career.

“I was shaking a little—I’m not going to lie,” Truex said. “My heart was beating. It gets the adrenaline going so high to put down a lap like that, to go the fastest you’ve gone all day in that final round.

“We put it all together. We got the balance better, and I stepped up and put it on the line out there, and it stuck. The commitment level was high, and the car handled it well. That’s always a good combination.”

Ryan Blaney qualified third, Matt Kenseth fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth, as Playoff drivers garnered the top five spots on the grid. Daniel Suarez was sixth, followed by Erik Jones and Kyle Busch, as Toyota drivers claimed six of the top eight starting positions, the only exceptions being the Fords of Harvick and Blaney.

Because qualifying at Martinsville is on the same day as the race, pit selection at the .526-mile short track was tied to qualifying at Kansas, where the No. 1 pit stall gives a driver unfettered egress from pit road.

“It was definitely on our minds,” said Truex, who has won a series-best six races in a dream season for the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team. “We talked about it. It was like ‘It’d be pretty nice to go to Martinsville and have the No. 1 pit stall.’

“It was definitely on our minds, but I don’t know if it really played into how we got the job done or not. But it was definitely good timing, more than anything, because that’s going to be huge for us going into the Round of 8 next week.”

Harvick, the 2014 series champion described his qualifying session as “three sketchy laps,” but feels he has a competitive car for the race that will trim the Playoff field from 12 drivers to eight.

“I think we have a car that can be capable of staying up there and hopefully having a chance to win the race at the end,” Harvick said. “It’s a good start to the weekend. That’s half the battle when you’re trying to collect stage points in the first stage and get pit stall selection and try and gain all the advantages that you can on Friday.

“That’s something that our team did a good job at this year. I feel like our cars are a lot faster from the beginning of the year on the mile-and-a-half race tracks, and we’re on the game. It’s been a fun few weeks.”

Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who currently leads Kyle Busch by seven points for the final spot in the Round of 8, and will start 13th after missing the final round by .020 seconds. Playoff driver Jamie McMurray qualified ninth in the fastest Chevrolet.

Playoff drivers Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott will start 14th and 15th, respectively. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the only Playoff driver who failed to make the second round, will take the green flag from 25th.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Erik Jones Would Like To Prove A Point At Kansas

Erik Jones
With five races remaining in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season, Erik Jones and the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota team return to Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400 with a couple of points to prove.

Point No. 1 is that the pre-season goal of winning a race during Jones’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year season is still very much alive and attainable. Despite an early exit last week at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, the Furniture Row Racing team has earned very respectable averages in both starts (15.5) and finishes (16.7) after the first 31 races. Continuing to build on that now solid foundation creates the drive to achieve all they can.

“The 5-hour ENERGY Toyota team has been able to learn and get better every week of the season, regardless of some of the results we’ve had,” said Jones. “Sure I’d like to get rid of some of the bad finishes we’ve had but a lot of them were out of our control so there’s really not a lot you can do about it. We keep chipping away at it and I feel confident we’re going to be ready when the opportunity comes our way.”

The second point is that the Furniture Row Racing team has been learning and progressing since the season’s first race at Kansas Speedway in May when they finished 22nd. Handling issues on the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota hampered the team’s efforts throughout the day. Jones, however, showed flashes of promise during the race, finishing ninth in the second stage and running ninth again with 60 laps remaining. A spin and later contact with another car with less than 10 laps remaining resulted in the 22nd-place finish.

“The last time we were at Kansas it was a bit of learning experience,” said Jones. “I said at the time it was something we just had to put behind us and focus on the next race, which was at Charlotte. We ended up getting our best finish of the season to date there (7th) so that showed me early in the season that our team was going to be strong.”

Jones is 19th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings after 31 races. He trails Joey Logano for 17th place by 45 points. Jones leads the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 256 points, six ahead of Daniel Suarez (250) and 71 ahead of Ty Dillon (185).

The 267-lap, 400-mile Hollywood 400 will consist of three stages of 80/80/107 laps (80/160/267). Sunday’s race will air live beginning at 1 p.m. MT (3 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN. Qualifying (multi-car, three rounds) is scheduled for Friday at 4:15 p.m. MT (6:15 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN.

Erik Jones

2017 NASCAR Cup Series Results

No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry

 

 

No.

 

Date

 

Event

 

St

 

Fn

 

Laps

Laps

Led

 

Status

 

Points

 

Rank

1 2/26 Daytona 34 39 103/200 0 Crash 1 37
2 3/5 Atlanta 23 14 325/325 0 Running 26 29
3 3/12 Las Vegas 8 15 267/267 0 Running 22 20
4 3/19 Phoenix 8 8 314/314 0 Running 33 18
5 3/26 Fontana 14 12 202/202 0 Running 34 15
6 4/2 Martinsville 15 12 500/500 0 Running 28 13
7 4/9 Texas 36 22 333/334 0 Running 15 14
8 4/24 Bristol 14 17 499/500 0 Running 33 12
9 4/30 Richmond 20 38 4/400 0 Crash 1 16
10 5/7 Talladega 14 33 168/188 0 Crash 7 20
11 5/13 Kansas 33 22 267/267 2 Running 17 19
12 5/28 Charlotte 5 7 400/400 0 Running 39 18
13 6/4 Dover 7 15 405/406 0 Crash 27 18
14 6/11 Pocono 15 3 160/160 20 Running 39 16
15 6/18 Michigan 14 13 200/200 0 Running 24 16
16 6/25 Sonoma 30 25 109/110 0 Running 12 16
17 7/1 Daytona 17 9 163/163 9 Running 28 17
18 7/8 Kentucky 14 6 274/274 0 Running 40 14
19 7/16 New Hampshire 6 39 40/301 0 Crash 1 17
20 7/23 Indianapolis 9 31 148/167 10 Crash 13 17
21 7/30 Pocono 9 8 160/160 4 Running 4 16
22 8/6 Watkins Glen 6 10 90/90 0 Running 33 18
23 8/13 Michigan 8 3 202/202 5 Running 47 16
24 8/19 Bristol 1 2 500/500 260 Running 50 15
25 9/3 Darlington 10 5 367/367 0 Running 37 14
26 9/9 Richmond 10 6 404/404 0 Running 43 18
27 9/17 Chicago 24 33 259/267 0 Running 4 19
28 9/24 New Hampshire 8 6 300/300 0 Running 45 19
29 10/1 Dover 10 12 400/400 0 Running 25 19
30 10/8 Charlotte 38 17 337/337 0 Running 20 19
31 10/15 Talladega 23 36 26/188 0 Crash 1 19
TOTALS/AVG. 15.5 16.7 7926/8896 310 749

 

 

2017 No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Team

 

Over-the-Wall Crew

Front-Tire Changer David Mayo, Byron, Ga.
Front-Tire Carrier Richard Coleman, Orlando, Fla.
Rear-Tire Changer Brian Eastland, New Bern, N.C.
Rear-Tire Carrier Blake Haugland, Mount Ayr, Iowa
Jackman David O’Dell, Springfield, Ill.
Gasman Matt Tyrell, Plantation, Fla.

 

Road Crew

President Joe Garone, Denver, Colo.
Crew Chief Chris Gayle, Little Rock, Ark.
Car Chief Todd Brewer, Manassas, Va.
Race Engineers James Small, Melbourne, Australia

Jeffrey Barber, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Engine Tuner David McClure, Carmichael, Calif.
Engine Builder Toyota Racing Development (TRD)
Spotter Rick Carelli, Arvada, Colo.
Shock Specialist Alex Michie, Woodslee, Ontario, CANADA
Tire Specialist Scott Simmons, Cambridge, Ontario, CANADA
Front-end Mechanic John Furino, East Meadow, N.Y.
Underneath Mechanic Cesar Villanueva, Parsippany, N.J.
Floater Mechanic Henry Katzke, Wausau, Wis.
Transportation Mike Clementson, Cambridge, Md.

Jason Taggart, Castleton, Vt.

Dave Shano, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Behind the Wall Support Gene Cornwell, Rock Hill, S.C.
Coach Driver Henry Benfield, Taylorsville, N.C.
IT Support Eric Cragun, Pleasant View, Utah

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Truex Has Another Chance To Shine On A Mile And A Half Track

Martin Truex, Jr.
If Martin Truex Jr. were in need of an elixir to cure any racing woes, Kansas Speedway’s 1.5-mile track would be the perfect remedy for the Furniture Row Racing driver.

Truex does indeed light up when discussing Kansas Speedway, knowing he has a special kinship with the racetrack; it’s also the closest track to Furniture Row Racing’s home base in Denver.

“There’s something about the track’s geometry and my driving style that suit each other,” explained Truex. “Back in 2007 we went there (to Kansas) and I just figured something out about that track late in the race and ended up having the fastest car. Even during the years when our cars didn’t seem to run so well we always for whatever reason were able to go there and run strong. Whether it was the old track, the new track with the repave and now the new track being weathered back in again.”

Though Truex will advance to the next playoff round as a result of winning in Charlotte two weeks ago, he still plans to attack Kansas Speedway’s mile-and-a-half oval with the same intensity that he has demonstrated throughout the season.

“There are seven bonus points up for grabs and we will take as many as we can get,” said Truex. “Hopefully we won’t have to use the banked bonus points next round, but in the event we do, we want to get as many as we can.”

Truex, who will drive the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota in Kansas, enters the Hollywood Casino 400 first in the driver point standings.

A six-time tour winner this season, Truex is looking to add another victory by scoring the double at Kansas. He won the spring race at Kansas and called it a “personal relief” after coming so close to a victory there a number of times.

“It was an awesome feeling,” said Truex about winning at Kansas. “Anytime you have challenges at a certain place and come out on top is very gratifying. I had a number of heartbreakers at that track so to finally get that first win just reminded me how many times we’ve been so close and how good we’ve been there over the years. Because of all that it made the victory that much sweeter.”

So far the entire NASCAR Cup season has been nothing short of sweet for Truex, who leads the series with wins (6), stage wins (19), playoff bonus points (64) and laps led (1977).

Prior to last week’s wreck-fest at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Truex was sitting on an awesome playoff finishing average. In the first four races of the playoffs he collected two wins, a fifth and a fourth for a finishing average of 2.76. At Talladega he was involved in a 16-car race-ending accident with 19 laps remaining and ended up with a 23rd-place finish. His playoff finishing average dropped to 6.8.

“We need to have a strong showing this weekend to go into the next round with some positive momentum,” noted Truex. “It’s nice not to worry about this weekend, but the three races in the next round (Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix) have been getting a lot of my attention lately.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Erik Jones’ Day Ends Early At Talladega

Erik Jones
Erik Jones and the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota team were involved in a multi-car accident early on in the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway and the resulting damage left the team with a 36th-place finish.

Contact with the No. 1 of Jamie McMurray caused a chain reaction that gathered up two other cars in the Lap 26 melee on the 2.66-mile oval. The heavy front-end contact to the No. 77 Toyota damaged the oil pump to an extent that it was impossible to continue.

“It was kind of hard to see from my view,” said Jones. “I was behind the 18 (Kyle Busch) and he started checking up, he swerved off to the left and the 1 (Jamie McMurray) was sitting there really slow on the race track so I didn’t really have any choice. Unfortunately, I ran him over and kind of caused a chain reaction from there. It’s a bummer. We didn’t get to race today and I was hoping we’d just get a chance to go up and see what we had. It’s unfortunate, but those kind of things are going to happen here.”

The Furniture Row Racing driver is 19th in the NASCAR Cup Series after 31 races. He is 45 points behind Joey Logano in 17th.

The race winner was Brad Keselowski. Rounding out the top 10 were: Ryan Newman, Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Gray Gaulding and David Ragan.

The race had 11 cautions for 47 laps and three red flags that totaled approximately 35 minutes. There were 30 lead changes among 16 drivers. There were only 14 cars running at the end of the race.

The next race is Sunday, Oct. 22 at Kansas Speedway.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Truex Got Collected Up In One Of “The Big Ones” At Talladega

Martin Truex, Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.’s victory last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway loomed even larger after the Furniture Row Racing driver was involved in a race-ending accident Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. He was credited with a 23rd-place finish.

Truex, who automatically earned a transfer into the next playoff round with the Charlotte win, was running in ninth place with 19 laps remaining in his No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, but then the spinning and wrecking started on Talladega’s 2.66-mile tri-oval.

Truex was evaluated and released from the infield care center.

When asked about the accident a candid Truex said, “Well I tried to get into a hole that was closing up at the wrong time and by the time that I got in the brakes trying to get out of there. I got into the 38 (David Ragan) a little bit on the right rear and he got squirrely out there and all hell broke loose. Just was trying to get to the end and get some track position and try to get towards the front and have a good day and ended up causing a wreck, so I hate it for everybody.

“We definitively had nothing to lose today, but at the same time you don’t want to be the person who causes others problems. Even though I feel like I’ve never been that guy here before it looks like today I was, so I hate it for all of those guys and all of their teams. I wish I didn’t make that mistake. Just 18 to go at Talladega, trying to get going and trying to fill a hole. Bad judgement and should have been more patient.”

Even with the 23rd-place finish, Truex remains first in playoff points with one race remaining in the Round of 12.

Truex’s Furniture Row Racing teammate Erik Jones was also void of luck as his No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota was collected in an accident on Lap 27. He finished 36th.

“It was kind of hard to see from my view,” said Jones. “I was behind the 18 (Kyle Busch) and he started checking up, he swerved off to the left and the 1 (Jamie McMurray) was sitting there really slow on the race track so I didn’t really have any choice. Unfortunately ran him over and kind of caused a chain reaction from there. It’s a bummer. We didn’t get to race today and I was hoping we’d just get a chance to see what we had. It’s unfortunate, but those kind of things are going to happen here.”

The race winner was Brad Keselowski. Rounding out the top 10 were: Ryan Newman, Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Gray Gaulding and David Ragan.

The race had 11 cautions for 47 laps and three red flags that totaled approximately 35 minutes. There were 30 lead changes among 16 drivers. There were only 14 cars running at the end of the race.

The next race is Sunday, Oct. 22 at Kansas Speedway where Truex was victorious in May.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Furniture Row Racing Announces 2018 Sponsorship Package

co-primary photo
In a spirited partnership arrangement with Furniture Row Racing, Bass Pro Shops and 5-hour ENERGY® have teamed to form a 30-race co-primary sponsorship on Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 78 Toyota during the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season.

The No. 78 paint scheme, uniform design and official name of race car for the 30 races will work in the following manner.

·      For 16 selective races the orange-hued paint scheme will feature Bass Pro Shops as the dominant brand on the hood and 5-hour Energy as the dominant brand on the side of the car.

·      For another 14 selective races the red-hued paint scheme will showcase 5-hour ENERGY as the dominant brand on the hood and Bass Pro Shops as the dominant brand on the sides.

·      The color and primary design of the team fire suits for the 30 races will be the company which holds the dominant position on the hood of the Furniture Row Racing-owned Camry.

·      The official name of the car that will be submitted to NASCAR will be determined by which company is dominant on the hood. It will either be called the No. 78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota or the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota.

With Bass Pro Shops and 5-hour ENERGY co-sponsoring 30 races, Auto-Owners Insurance as primary sponsor for six other races and a pending announcement regarding the final two Cup events on the 2018 schedule, Truex’s No. 78 team will be fully sponsored next season.

In the spirit of the co-primary sponsorship Bass Pro Shops and 5-hour ENERGY have formed a business-to-business relationship, which includes in-store sales and marketing rights.

Quotes:

Rise’ Meguiar, President of Sales for Living Essentials,
parent company of 5-hour ENERGY
“Furniture Row Racing has felt like home since we joined them in the summer of 2016,” said Rise’ Meguiar, president of sales for Living Essentials. “They have been amazing on track and even more so off the track.  Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 78 team have been on a championship level for a number of years and we are proud to take a prominent co-primary position on that car.  We are equally as excited about the new business and marketing partnership with Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops.  The ability to sell 5-hour ENERGY products within the Bass Pro and Cabela’s stores, as well as co-market to the millions of men and women who enjoy the outdoors, makes this a perfect sponsorship.  We could not be happier.”

Johnny Morris, noted conservationist, avid racing fan and Bass Pro Shops founder/CEO
“Martin is a true champion on and off the racetrack and we are proud to continue supporting him and the No. 78 race team in 2018,” said Bass Pro Shops founder, CEO and avid racing fan Johnny Morris. “NASCAR is an excellent platform for Bass Pro Shops and we share in our customers’ enthusiasm and passion for racing. We’re very excited to continue our longstanding relationship with Martin Truex Jr., Barney Visser and our friends at Toyota.”

Barney Visser, Furniture Row Racing Owner
“This type of a co-primary sponsorship has been made a reality only because of the incredible cooperation between Johnny Morris and his Bass Pro team, along with Rise’ Meguiar and her 5-hour ENERGY team,” said Furniture Row Racing team owner Barney Visser. “It took a number of conversations and a spirit of partnership to make this happen and we thank Bass Pro Shops and 5-hour ENERGY for being open-minded to this concept. Bass Pro and 5-hour ENERGY are winning companies and we will do everything we can on the racetrack to provide them not only with a winning team but represent them in the highest standard. We also want to give a special thank you to Auto-Owners Insurance for its cooperation in moving markets around to enable this overall partnership with Bass Pro Shops and 5-hour ENERGY to work.”

Martin Truex Jr., Driver No. 78 Toyota Camry
“I am looking forward to continuing my association with Bass Pro Shops and my good friend Johnny Morris and building a bigger and stronger relationship with 5-hour ENERGY,” said Truex. “The sponsorship package is a neat concept and it will be our responsibility to make sure we deliver both on and off the track for these highly-visible and successful companies.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Talladega Is Beginning To Grow On Erik Jones

Erik Jones
Racing at Talladega Superspeedway has been called a wild card and a crap shoot but Erik Jones likes his and the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota team’s odds heading into Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Alabama 500.

The Furniture Row Racing driver realizes he’s only competed there once in NASCAR’s premier series and already has first-hand knowledge of its well-earned reputation for quickly ending what had been a great race. But he’s a quick study and sees an opportunity where others may see just a challenge.

“Racing at Talladega is really starting to grow on me,” said Jones. “I have to admit I wasn’t a huge fan in the beginning because it seemed like there was so much out of my control. But it’s different and changes your mindset from the majority of the season so it’s kind of fun.

“I’ve learned from this season’s superspeedway races that there are things in your control and more you can do on the track, like when to be aggressive and when not to. So I’m enjoying it more and looking forward to this weekend.”

Jones qualified 14th at Talladega in May but finished 33rd after getting caught up in an 18-car wreck on Lap 169. He was running in the top 10 at the time of the incident and had earned top-10 finishes in both stages of the race. Despite the poor finish, Jones is optimistic about his chances in the Alabama 500.

“The 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, and all of the Toyotas for that matter, have been strong at the superspeedways this year so we’ve worked together to figure out the best way to approach this weekend,” said Jones. “But it’s hard to execute plans once you’re out there, especially toward the end of the race. At the end of the day you have to do what you can to win and we’re in a position that there are fewer and fewer races for us to get that first win.”

This weekend, the TV panel of the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota will sport the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation logo in honor of his Furniture Row Racing teammate. The signature teal and gold logo represents an emotional time for Truex Jr., whose foundation’s dual mission is ovarian and childhood cancers. Truex Jr’s longtime partner, Sherry Pollex, is fighting a recurrence of the ovarian cancer doctors first diagnosed in 2014. In 2016, she launched SherryStrong.org, a health and wellness site for women. For more information, visit MartinTruexJrFoundation.org.

Jones is 19th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings after 30 races. He trails Clint Bowyer for 17th place by 12 points. Jones leads the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 255 points, six ahead of Daniel Suarez (249) and 72 ahead of Ty Dillon (183).

The 188-lap, 500-mile Alabama 500 will consist of three stages of 55/55/78 laps (55/110/188). Sunday’s race will air live beginning at noon MT (2 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN. Qualifying (multi-car, three rounds) is scheduled for Saturday at 2:15 p.m. MT (4:15 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN.

 

Erik Jones

2017 NASCAR Cup Series Results

No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry

 

 

No.

 

Date

 

Event

 

St

 

Fn

 

Laps

Laps

Led

 

Status

 

Points

 

Rank

1 2/26 Daytona 34 39 103/200 0 Crash 1 37
2 3/5 Atlanta 23 14 325/325 0 Running 26 29
3 3/12 Las Vegas 8 15 267/267 0 Running 22 20
4 3/19 Phoenix 8 8 314/314 0 Running 33 18
5 3/26 Fontana 14 12 202/202 0 Running 34 15
6 4/2 Martinsville 15 12 500/500 0 Running 28 13
7 4/9 Texas 36 22 333/334 0 Running 15 14
8 4/24 Bristol 14 17 499/500 0 Running 33 12
9 4/30 Richmond 20 38 4/400 0 Crash 1 16
10 5/7 Talladega 14 33 168/188 0 Crash 7 20
11 5/13 Kansas 33 22 267/267 2 Running 17 19
12 5/28 Charlotte 5 7 400/400 0 Running 39 18
13 6/4 Dover 7 15 405/406 0 Crash 27 18
14 6/11 Pocono 15 3 160/160 20 Running 39 16
15 6/18 Michigan 14 13 200/200 0 Running 24 16
16 6/25 Sonoma 30 25 109/110 0 Running 12 16
17 7/1 Daytona 17 9 163/163 9 Running 28 17
18 7/8 Kentucky 14 6 274/274 0 Running 40 14
19 7/16 New Hampshire 6 39 40/301 0 Crash 1 17
20 7/23 Indianapolis 9 31 148/167 10 Crash 13 17
21 7/30 Pocono 9 8 160/160 4 Running 4 16
22 8/6 Watkins Glen 6 10 90/90 0 Running 33 18
23 8/13 Michigan 8 3 202/202 5 Running 47 16
24 8/19 Bristol 1 2 500/500 260 Running 50 15
25 9/3 Darlington 10 5 367/367 0 Running 37 14
26 9/9 Richmond 10 6 404/404 0 Running 43 18
27 9/17 Chicago 24 33 259/267 0 Running 4 19
28 9/24 New Hampshire 8 6 300/300 0 Running 45 19
29 10/1 Dover 10 12 400/400 0 Running 25 19
30 10/8 Charlotte 38 17 337/337 0 Running 20 19
TOTALS/AVG. 15.3 16.1 7900/8708 310 748

 

 

2017 No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Team

 

Over-the-Wall Crew

Front-Tire Changer David Mayo, Byron, Ga.
Front-Tire Carrier Richard Coleman, Orlando, Fla.
Rear-Tire Changer Brian Eastland, New Bern, N.C.
Rear-Tire Carrier Blake Haugland, Mount Ayr, Iowa
Jackman David O’Dell, Springfield, Ill.
Gasman Matt Tyrell, Plantation, Fla.

 

Road Crew

President Joe Garone, Denver, Colo.
Crew Chief Chris Gayle, Little Rock, Ark.
Car Chief Todd Brewer, Manassas, Va.
Race Engineers James Small, Melbourne, Australia

Jeffrey Barber, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Engine Tuner David McClure, Carmichael, Calif.
Engine Builder Toyota Racing Development (TRD)
Spotter Rick Carelli, Arvada, Colo.
Shock Specialist Alex Michie, Woodslee, Ontario, CANADA
Tire Specialist Scott Simmons, Cambridge, Ontario, CANADA
Front-end Mechanic John Furino, East Meadow, N.Y.
Underneath Mechanic Cesar Villanueva, Parsippany, N.J.
Floater Mechanic Henry Katzke, Wausau, Wis.
Transportation Mike Clementson, Cambridge, Md.

Jason Taggart, Castleton, Vt.

Dave Shano, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Behind the Wall Support Gene Cornwell, Rock Hill, S.C.
Coach Driver Henry Benfield, Taylorsville, N.C.
IT Support Eric Cragun, Pleasant View, Utah

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Broken Suspension Hurts Erik Jones’ Finish

Erik Jones
Erik Jones salved a 17th-place finish in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on a day that began by going from bad to worse.

The right-rear shock mount of the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota broke within the first 50 laps. Multiples stops to fix the issue under caution and then the start of a green-flag run put Jones down two laps to the leaders. He successfully battled throughout the rest of the race to get his laps back but the early issues hampered the team’s overall performance.

“It was just a frustrating day because, even after we fixed the car, we were so far back in the field that there wasn’t anything we could do to move forward for such a big part of the race,” said Jones. “The guys got the 5-hour ENERY Toyota running well but then it was just a battle to get back on the lead lap. I’m proud of all their effort because we never gave up. It’s been a tough couple of weeks but I know we all learned something today that will help down the road.”

The broken shock mount and multiple stops to remedy the situation left Jones with a 34th-place finish in Stage 1. During the pit stop under caution between stages, a heat shield was installed in the floor board under Jones’ feet after he radioed in to crew chief Chris Gayle how hot his feet were getting.

The second stage found Jones’ lap times competitive with the leaders but mired that deep in the field, he was able to pick up one lap on the leaders but only advance to 29th place by the end of the stage on Lap 190.

In the final stage, the lap times remained fast while the handling went from loose to tight. Gayle’s pit strategy during cautions as well as green-flag stops put the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota back on the lead lap with less than 60 laps remaining. Jones was 19th with 50 laps remaining and moved to 18th with 26 laps to go.

A caution with nine laps remaining allowed Jones to get fresh tires for the dash to the checkered. A subsequent caution put the race into overtime with the No. 77 Furniture Row Racing entry lined up on the outside of Row 7 for the green-white-checkered finish. Unfortunately, Jones was shuffled back to 17th by the time the checkered flag waved.

Jones remained 19th in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings after 30 races. However, he closed the gap to 12 points to Clint Bowyer in 17th place.

Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. earned his sixth victory of the season. The balance of the top-10 finishers were: Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Jamie McMurray, Daniel Suarez, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson.

The race had 10 cautions for 44 laps and 14 lead changes among eight drivers.

The next race is Oct. 15 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Martin Truex, Jr. Punches His Ticket To The Round Of Eight

Martin Truex, Jr.

The only thing typical about Martin Truex Jr.’s performance at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the win!

The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team screwed up in qualifying on Friday—a rare occurrence in a remarkable season for the series leader.

Truex failed to score points in the first stage of Sunday’s Bank of America 500, the first race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s Round of 12. That marked the first time since Daytona in July that Truex had finished outside the top 10 in Stage 1 of a race. But with the event winding down, the series leader was back in his usual spot, at the front of the field. Truex survived two late restarts, the last in overtime, to win for a series-best six times this season, the second time at Charlotte and the 13th time in his career.

“We qualified horribly, and I was mad about it,” said Truex, who started 17th instead of his customary position on or near the front row. (Crew chief) Cole (Pearn) was mad about it and in 20 minutes we’re like ‘All right, I think this is where we went wrong.’ And he’s like ‘Yeah, that’s where we went wrong. We screwed up, we’ll get them Sunday.’”

That’s exactly what Truex did, with substantial help from his pit crew, which picked up positions on every stop and finally got Truex the lead on Lap 234 during an exchange of green-flag pit stops where he leap-frogged past Kevin Harvick into the top spot.

“Unbelievable win,” Truex said. “Just a total team effort. Every single guy – every guy on this team just did a perfect job today, and I can’t be more proud of them—and this time of the year is just when you want it to happen.

“You dream about days like today. I don’t know if we had the best car, but we damn sure got it in Victory Lane.”

At the end of the two-lap shootout that sent the race three laps past its scheduled distance of 334 laps, Truex took the checkered flag 0.911 seconds ahead of runner-up Chase Elliott, who finished second for the second consecutive week and third time in the last four races.

“We needed to be a little better I think in the middle stage and not lose so much track position,” said Elliott, who was ninth in both the first and second stages. “That was where Martin came on and got his track position, and we lost ours, and it was just hard to get all of it back there toward the end.

“It was a hard-fought day and really, from where we were in those middle stages, I was proud of the way we fought back and were able to get back to the front. It’s frustrating to run like this. We’re definitely tired of running second. But, if we keep running like we are, hopefully the opportunities will be there.”

Still looking for his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, Elliott has finished second four times this season and six times in his fledgling career.

Harvick ran third after leading a race-high 149 laps and hounding Truex from a restart on Lap 284 until NASCAR called a caution for debris on Lap 325. Harvick lost four spots on pit road under yellow on Lap 327 and never recovered.

Truex surged ahead from the restart on Lap 329, but Kurt Busch’s spin off Turn 2 on Lap 332 caused the 10th caution and forced the overtime. Again Truex pulled away, and Elliott passed polesitter Denny Hamlin for the second spot. Ultimately, Hamlin came home fourth behind Harvick, with Jamie McMurray trailing in fifth.

Truex leaves Charlotte with a guaranteed spot in the Playoff’s Round of 8 and a 34-point lead in the standings over second-place Kyle Larson, who ran 10th on Sunday in one of the race’s fastest cars after two pit road glitches and contact from Kurt Busch’s car during the Lap 325 spin.

Kyle Busch squandered his advantage in playoff points when he smacked the outside wall in Turn 4 and brought out the fifth caution on Lap 136. With a resulting 29th-place finish, Busch fell from second to sixth in the standings, only 12 points clear of ninth-place Matt Kenseth, with treacherous and unpredictable Talladega on the schedule for next Sunday.

Only 25 points separate Elliott in fourth place from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 12th, with Talladega all but certain to scramble the standings before the Round of 12 elimination race at Kansas Speedway two weeks later.

Check out the unofficial results of the Bank America 500 at Charlotte.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

All Systems Are Go For Martin Truex, Jr.

Martin Truex, Jr.
Following last Sunday’s race in Dover, Martin Truex Jr. said, “I am looking forward to the next round of the playoffs and feel good about where this Furniture Row Racing team is at right now.”

Truex, who will drive the blue No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota in Sunday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, has facts to back up his optimistic feeling.

For starters he enters the Round of 12 playoffs as the points leader, an 18-point margin over second place Kyle Busch.

Truex is also coming off the Round of 16 with the best three-race finishing average of 3.3. His consistent finishes in the first round were: first at Chicagoland Speedway, fifth at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and fourth at Dover International Speedway.

And high on the optimistic list is two of the three races in the second playoff round will be at 1.5-mile tracks where Truex has been at his strongest. Four of his five wins this season have come at the mile-and-a-half tracks – Las Vegas, Kansas, Kentucky and Chicagoland.

With his recent success at Charlotte’s 1.5-mile oval Truex couldn’t ask for a better venue to kick off the playoff round. In his last five races at Charlotte, Truex has a victory, four top fives, and has led a total of 756 laps. Of the 756 laps led, 392 came during his dominant victory in the May 2016 Coca-Cola 600. In this year’s Coke 600, he finished third and led 233 laps.

Kansas, the third race of the second round, is another 1.5-miler where Truex has had success, winning there in May with a strong performance.

“I am definitely looking forward to Charlotte and Kansas,” said Truex, who has set career season highs for wins (5), top fives (13) and laps led (1886). “A win would be great at either one of those tracks, but we just need to be consistent, be among the leaders fighting for the win and picking up those valuable stage points as well as playoff points.

“And then there’s Talladega (second race in the Round of 12). Anything can happen there. It’s a wildcard race. We have not had much success there lately, but if we can avoid the wrecks and mechanical issues we should be ok. It’s a crazy race that can either make or break you from entering the next round of the playoffs.”

Truex’s Cup record at Charlotte Motor Speedway includes 24 starts, one victory, four top fives and eight top 10s. His four top fives have come in the last five races. His average start at Charlotte is 17.0 and average finish is 15.7.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!