Race Coverage Writing
Jim Utter, motorsport.com
Truex dominates, but loses again: “It Sucks”
There were no soothing words for Martin Truex Jr. following yet another race in which he appeared headed to a win with a dominant car only to end up outside Victory Lane.
Truex started from the pole, led 172 of the first 211 laps of Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway, but while making a green-flag pit stop late in the race, he was forced to pit a second time with a loose wheel.
“Honestly, I just need a little bit better luck. It was just plain ‘ol bad luck – that’s all you can say about it,” Truex said after the race. “It’s happened to me so many times but that’s the hand I’m dealt and I’ll have to deal with it.”
Truex said he had just completed his stop when he noticed right away one of his wheels was loose. Truex’s crew chief, Cole Pearn, advised his driver to return to pit road to fix the issue, which left Truex a lap down.
“Something got jammed up in the wheel,” Pearn informed the driver over the team radio.
“I can’t believe it, man,” Truex replied to his crew. “I don’t know what the racing gods have against me, but boy, that sucks.”
After the race, Truex said he understood that all of the lug nuts on his wheel were tight but a bolt behind the wheel broke and the wheel couldn’t attach fully.
“I knew as soon as I left the pit box there was a problem,” he said.
Not closing the deal
In the eight races where Truex has led 100 laps or more, he’s only won one of the events. On Saturday, Truex recovered to finish 14th.
“It sucks,” he said. “It’s no fun leading all those laps and finishing 14th. I wish the race was longer – we were hunting them down there at the end. It’s hard to give them away like that.”
Despite the multitude of near-misses when it comes to victories in the Cup series, Truex said he refuses to get too frustrated, in large part because of the opportunity his Furniture Row Racing team has provided him at this point in his career.
“Without a doubt, without a doubt,” Truex said when asked if he was enjoying the best time of his career. “That’s why I don’t get too down and lose my mind when things like this happen.
“We’re going to be fine. We’re going to win some races. Whether we win four or one before the Chase, it really doesn’t matter. We won one last year and made it to the final four (of the Chase).”
Coach Gibbs goes to see MTJ
Before heading to Victory Lane to celebrate Kyle Busch's win, Joe Gibbs Racing owner Joe Gibbs stopped to speak to Truex on pit road.
Furniture Row has a technical alliance with JGR and receives engines, chassis and pit crew assistance.
"I felt so bad about that. I went first of all to find out (what happened). We had it happen one other time. There's a bolt that bolts the inside plate and the head broke off and then it turned and when it turned it kept the tire from going on.
"I just felt bad for a teammate like that. I stopped and explained to Martin what happened. He was great about it. To be quite truthful, they were killing it all night. They were really fast."