Oftentimes in racing, salvaging a decent finish with a bad car is almost as important as winning with a good car.

That was the case for Martin Truex Jr. last week at Chicagoland Speedway. The Stafford Township native finished ninth despite a car that he called “horrible” in quotes posted on the website of his team, Michael Waltrip Racing.

“We came out of there with a top-10 finish despite dealing with a temperamental car,” crew chief Chad Johnston said in quotes provided this week by MWR. “We could have had more issues after (a) practice incident, so we were lucky. We’ve moved on.”

With only 10 races in the Chase, one bad finish can be crippling. Nine of the 12 Chase drivers finished in the top 10 at Chicagoland. Jeff Gordon’s 35th-place finish left him a daunting 47 points behind leader Brad Keselowski.

Salvaging a top-10 finish kept Truex right in the thick of things heading into this weekend’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In other sports, the saying goes that “A win’s a win,” and in racing a ninth-place finish is a ninth-place finish. It doesn’t matter how bad his car was.

“Every race is a new start,” Johnston said. “Now it’s all about New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It’s all about optimizing points at each race and taking all we can get.”