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Truex Jr.Mathematically Clinches Chase Berth; Strong Performance at Watkins Glen Takes Hit Late in Race

Monday, Aug 10 1329
Two major points immediately surface when dissecting Martin Truex Jr.'s 25th-place finish in Sunday's road-course race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. 

First, the Furniture Row Racing driver saw another strong run slip away after suffering a flat tire with 22 laps remaining. Until the tire incident, Truex was running third and basically was positioned in the top-five for the majority of the race after qualifying second. His No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet also led five laps on the 2.45-mile circuit. 

The second point was much better news for Truex, who mathematically clinched a Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff berth with four races remaining in the regular season. This will be the third Chase appearance for Truex and the second in the last three years for the single-car Furniture Row Racing team, which is based in Denver, Colo. 

'I guess you can say we have mixed feelings, but right now we are more disappointed about what happened to us today," said Truex, who is sixth in driver points. "Man we just can't catch a break lately. We had an awesome car all weekend and it was very much capable of winning. We got together with a car on a traffic-jam restart and the left-front side of the car took a hit, causing a tire rub.  Eventually the tire got cut down and we had to pit. Hopefully we're getting rid of this bad luck before the start of the Chase."

Truex added, "We've had a season of strong performances so far and it feels great to know that we'll be one of the Chase participants. We have high expectations for the Chase -- I think we've proven that we can compete with the best-of-the-best."

Thanks to sound pit strategy, Truex would have had enough fuel to finish the race and was considered one of the contenders for the win. But after making the unscheduled pit stop on Lap 68 of 90, his chance of winning was doomed. He was still on the lead lap when he left pit road but sent all the way back to 36th place. He hustled his Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevy as hard as he could and picked up 11 spots.  

"We've had some great cars lately but can't seem to shake the unlucky breaks," said Truex. "We will continue to come to a race each week knowing that we can win. We were strong in Michigan last time and should again be good there next Sunday."

The race winner was Joey Logano. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Sam Hornish Jr. and Jimmie Johnson. 

There were five caution flags for 16 laps and one red flag for 9 minutes. The race also had eight lead changes among eight drivers. 

The next Sprint Cup Series race is Sunday Aug. 16 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

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