You can’t blame Martin Truex Jr. if he is a little antsy to start Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
After securing seven straight top-10 finishes to start the season, Truex saw his streak snapped Sunday at Bristol (Tenn.) International Speedway due to a mechanical issue (loose wheel) plus a couple of hits to his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet.
Though Truex had his worst finish of the season in Bristol (29th), he gained some ground in the point standings. He still stands at third, only three points behind second place Joey Logano, who had a 16-point lead on Truex coming into Bristol.
“If you want to enjoy success you need to put the good finishes and the bad finishes in the rear-view mirror,” said Truex. “You can’t be on a high or a low about the last performance, you need to be 100 percent focused on the next race.”
And that is exactly what Truex and the single-car Furniture Row Racing plan to do at the 0.75-mile Richmond short track, which will be an emotional weekend for the NASCAR community with the passing of Fox motorsports announcer Steve Byrnes, who lost his courageous battle to cancer on Tuesday.
“We all go to Richmond with heavy hearts,” said Truex. “Steve was an inspiration to all of us and we pass along our deepest sympathies and prayers to his wife Karen and son Bryson.”
Truex, who scored his first top 10 with Furniture Row Racing at Richmond in last year’s spring race, will be looking for another solid finish at the Virginia track.
“I've always liked Richmond,” stated Truex. “It's a unique little short track and also one of the hardest to make your car do what you want it to do. It's a typical short track -- tight in the middle of the corner and loose off. The last couple of years it seemed like tire wear was a real issue.
“If your car is fast on the short run it seems like you can almost get lapped on a long run. It's hard to find the right balance at Richmond. The big question is how much do you work on the short run and how much do you work on the long run. It is definitely a challenging weekend when we go to Richmond.”