“Home Cooking” Pays Off For Truex

Martin Truex, Jr.
Pocono Raceway, site of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race, will be the fourth of five straight venues that carries a home feeling for Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr.

Truex’s home schedule started at Kansas Speedway, the closest track to the team’s headquarters in Denver. Then it was Charlotte where Truex currently resides, then to Dover International Speedway, always considered by Truex his first home track.

Pocono is the second-closest track (next to Dover) where Truex grew up in Mayetta, N.J. Next week it will be Michigan, basically an adopted home track since it’s the native state of Truex’s girlfriend Sherry Pollex.

The first three home-cooking tracks produced strong results for Truex. He won at Kansas and was third at both Charlotte and Dover for a three-race average finish of 2.33.

“We felt we had a shot at winning all three of those races,” said Truex, who will drive the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota in Pocono. “You’re disappointed when you come so close but on the other hand proud of the way we’ve been running. At least we got the victory in Kansas.”

Truex, a 2015 winner at Pocono’s 2.5-mile triangular track, enters Sunday’s Axalta Presents the Pocono 400 as the leader in numerous categories including the NASCAR Cup Series No. 1 ranking in driver points.

Other categories he ranks No. 1 in are: stage wins (8), stage points (177), playoff bonus points (18), laps led (871), miles led (1,140), fastest laps run (455), percentage of laps run on lead lap (96.81 percent), laps in top 15 (91.9 percent) and driver rating (114.3).

Truex is tied for second in race wins with two, one behind leader Jimmie Johnson.

Since his victory at Pocono in June 2015, Truex has encountered bad luck in the previous three races at the 3-turn track.  He was running in the top three in the second Pocono race in 2015 when his car unexpectedly ran out of fuel with a few laps to go.

In both races last year, the freaky culprit in each was a blown tire due to a lug nut that got lodged between the wheel and the brake caliper.

“We’ve been good at Pocono the past couple of years, just had some weird things happen to us,” said Truex, who captured the pole in the second Pocono race last year. “They call the track the tricky triangle and it is tricky with the long straightaway and three different turns. The guys who are good there make their cars work in all three turns. If one turn is off, you better figure out a way not to mess up the other turns. I always look forward to Pocono. Got some good fishing holes up there as well.”

In 22 starts at Pocono, Truex has one win, three top fives, seven top 10s, one pole, 130 laps led and a 16.9 starting average and a 16.5 finishing average.

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

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