When it comes to racing at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) for Martin Truex Jr. the anticipation level takes a sudden jump. The Furniture Row Racing driver feels strongly he is overdue for a victory at the 2-mile oval located in the Irish Hills.
“Looking back at the past three races at MIS we had the speed to get a victory or two,” said Truex. “We came close twice last year with a pair of third-place finishes and back in June we were once again competitive -- qualified second, led laps before spinning while passing a lapped car. That was another opportunity that we let slip away.”
Truex, who is Chase bound with a ranking of eighth in driver points and 10th in Chase playoff points, has three races remaining before NASCAR’s version of post-season competition commences.
“Performance wise I feel we’re right there to have a competitive playoff run,” said Truex, who advanced to the final four last year. “But these past five or six weeks it seemed like something went wrong every race that prevented us from having a finish that our performance deserved. To have another run in the playoffs like we had last season we need to take advantage of strong performances by closing the deal.”
Though NASCAR is instituting a lower downforce package for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 Sprint Cup Series race at MIS, Truex feels his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota will continue to be fast.
“I have all the confidence in our guys, led by crew chief Cole Pearn,” said Truex. “They keep on bringing fast cars to the track no matter what the rules package we’re running. Michigan is our type of track and I feel we’ll have a contending car on Sunday.”
Truex added, “Michigan is one of my favorite areas on the circuit and that’s one of many reasons I would like to win there. MIS is also the closest track to the hometown (London, Ontario) of our crew chief Cole Pearn and engineer Ryan Kelly. Sherry (Pollex, Truex’s girlfriend) is a Michigan native as is our mechanic Gary Frost (from Romeo).”
In 21 career Sprint Cup starts at MIS, Truex has notched five top fives and seven top 10s. He has a 14.4 starting average and a 16.3 finishing average. He scored a pair of runner-up finishes at MIS in 2007.