Truex Jr. Advances to Round 2 of Chase; Finishes 11th in Dover Furniture Row driver ends first round of playoffs 5th in points

Martin Truex Jr.'s 11th-place finish Sunday at Dover International Speedway was more than enough to advance the Furniture Row Racing driver to Round 2 of the Chase playoffs. 

Truex ended the first round, which consisted of three races, fifth in points out of the 16-driver Chase field.

The 12 drivers advancing to the three-race Contender Round will each start with 3000 points. The top-eight drivers after the next three races (at Charlotte, Kansas City and Talladega) will advance to the following round. A victory in either of the next three races will automatically advance the winning driver. 

It wasn't an easy 400-lap race at the Monster Mile for Truex, who had to start at the rear of the field due to an inspection penalty. He was originally scheduled to start ninth.
"We knew what we had to do and we're moving on," said Truex. "All-in-all we had good speed when we would get track position. But we would lose track position and be in long lines on the restarts. At the end we didn't want to do anything stupid, we were looking at the big picture and that was to advance to the next round."

Truex knew from the get-go that he had to advance his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet after starting at the rear of the 43-car field. 

He picked up seven spots in the first three laps, and when the competition yellow flag waved on Lap 40, he was in 19th place, a gain of 24 positions. He made it into the top-10 on Lap 138 and stayed there until the closing laps when he fell to 11th. The highest he ran was second. 

"It was really difficult to pass today," noted Truex. "We had good speed out front -- top-five speed -- and then just never could get back there once we were in traffic. But we got the job done. As was the case last week in New Hampshire the team rallied with good pit stops and great strategy by our crew chief Cole Pearn and the engineering staff."

The 12 drivers advancing to Round 2 are: Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Truex, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick. 

The four drivers who didn't make the cut were: Jamie McMurray, Jimmie Johnson, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer. 

The race winner was Harvick, who needed to finish first to advance.  Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kyle Busch, Earnhardt Jr., McMurray, Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne,  Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Larson and  Logano. 

There were 14 lead changes among three drivers. and there were 8 cautions for 43 laps.

Speedway Digest Staff

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