DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Speedweeks at Daytona haven’t gone the way Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 78 Furniture Row team would have expected or preferred.
In Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited, Truex fell victim to a late wreck and finished 13th.
On Sunday afternoon, he didn’t even get to make a qualifying run during time trials for the Daytona 500.
As Truex’s car sat on pit road before qualifying, NASCAR inspectors noticed that a roof flap on the No. 78 Toyota failed to comply with specifications. By then, the 78 was on the five-minute clock, and the team didn’t have time to correct the issue in time to qualify after NASCAR ordered the car back to the garage.
As a consequence, Truex will start the second Can-Am Duel qualifying race on Thursday night from the back of the field.
“They didn’t like the way it was landing when it went down,” crew chief Cole Pearn said of the roof flap. “I don’t know – it was that way the whole way down pit road. I’m not sure what the problem was. It could have been easily fixed, but either way they decided to put it on the five-minute clock when we were down there at the end, and I don’t know why we had to run it back here, because there was no way we were going to get back here and get back out in time.
“But, whatever, we will roll on and see what they decide to do. Too bad. I thought we had a really good car and good speed in it, so it would’ve been nice to see what we could’ve run at least. But either way, we’ll move on and hopefully have a good rest of Speedweeks.”
NASCAR will discuss the issue at its weekly competition meeting on Tuesday and will determine if further action is warranted.