(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)
Furniture Row Racing Report
March 26, 2017
Auto Club 400
Martin Truex Jr.
Point Standing: 4th
Segment Finishes/Bonus Points: 19 bonus points – nine for finishing second in first segment (lap 60) and 10 for finishing first in second segment (lap 120). Also picked up one playoff point for finishing first in the second segment.
Point Standing: 12th
Segment Finishes/Bonus Points: Nine bonus points – three in segment one (finished 8th) and six in segment 2 (finished 5th)
Truex Jr. 4th; Jones 12th in California NASCAR Race
Late issues spoil better results for Furniture Row Racing drivers
It was a solid day for Furniture Row Racing but late-race issues prevented even better finishes for Martin Truex Jr. and rookie Erik Jones in Sunday’s Auto Club 400.
Truex, who led four times for 73 laps and posted finishes of second and first in the opening two segments, brought home a fourth-place result in his No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota. It was a career-best finish for Truex at Auto Club Speedway in 17 starts. His previous best at the 2-mile oval was sixth.
Truex’s segment finishes earned him 19 additional standing points, including one playoff point for the second segment win. He ranks fourth in driver points, and his eight bonus playoff points are the most after the first five races of the season.
Jones was a consistent top-five performer in his No. 77 Toyota Service Centers Camry until being penalized for a pit-road tire violation with only a few laps to go. He ended with a 12th-place finish, his fourth consecutive top-15 result. He also finished in the top 10 in the first two segments – 8th and 5th – adding nine points to his driver points column. He jumped to 12th in the point standings.
“We were fast, we just don’t complete the races that well so we have to go to work and get a little bit better and figure out how we ran all day,” said Jones.
Truex, who either led or ran second for all but a few laps, fell back to seventh after a Lap 181 of 202 pit stop. “We had a number of issues on that pit stop. I didn’t position the car properly and we had a lug nut that got hung up.”
Truex didn’t pit during the following two cautions while the majority of teams pitted at least one time for fresh Goodyears. He was able to hold off the fresh-rubber onslaught in the closing laps to finish fourth.
“We had an awesome Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER boats Toyota – we were right there all day long,” said Truex. “I felt like the 42 (Kyle Larson) had everybody covered. It was just a matter of who got out front and got clean air. Towards the end we had a little trouble in the pits and on another stop we didn’t take tires, everybody else did and we were at a big disadvantage those last couple restarts. Definitely happy to come out of here with a fourth with the tires we had on the car at the end. It was a good day and we have fast cars and we’ll continue to work on them.”
The race winner was Kyle Larson. Rounding out the top 10 in order were: Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Truex, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Daniel Suarez, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott.
The race had 17 lead changes among eight drivers and seven cautions for 29 laps.
The next Cup race is Sunday, April 2 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!