A trip to Kansas Speedway’s 1.5-mile track may just be the thing that NASCAR Monster Cup driver Martin Truex Jr. needs after a rough ride at Talladega last weekend.
Truex, who grew up in Stafford Township, took responsibility for a 16-car wreck with 19 laps remaining that ended his day and several others at the Alabama track. Truex finished 23rd, his worst finish since finishing 33rd at Indianapolis on July 23.
“I was just trying to get to the end and get some track position and try to get toward the front and have a good day and ended up causing a wreck, so I hate it for everybody,” Truex said after Sunday’s race. “We definitively had nothing to lose today, but at the same time you don’t want to be the person who causes others problems. ... I wish I didn’t make that mistake. ... (It was) bad judgment, and I should have been more patient.”
Truex has already advanced to the next round of the Cup playoffs with a victory at Charlotte on Oct. 8, but he thinks Kansas is another track where he could pick up another win or some bonus points.
“There are seven bonus points up for grabs and we will take as many as we can get,” Truex said in a statement. “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 at Kansas, enters the Hollywood Casino 400 first in the driver point standings. The race begins at 3 p.m Sunday and will be televised on NBC Sports Network.
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 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.”
Truex has enjoyed the sweet taste of victory several times this season as he leads the Cup Series in wins (6), stage wins (19), playoff bonus points (64) and laps led (1,977). In fact, Truex has led laps in every race this season except for seven.
Kansas is the closest track to Furniture Row Racing’s home base in Denver, and Truex said there’s something about the track’s geometry that seems to suit his driving style.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Whether he gets his seventh win this season or not, Truex wants to carry some momentum into the next stage of three playoff races before the finale at Homestead, Florida, on Nov. 19.
“We need to have a strong showing this weekend to go into the next round with some positive momentum,” Truex said. “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.”