Truex runs third on a day that could have been better

LOUDON, NH - JULY 16: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 WIX Filters Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DEWALT Flexvolt Toyota, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton's 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 16, 2017 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

LOUDON, N.H. –  For Coors Light Pole winner Martin Truex Jr., Sunday’s Overton’s 301 had a similar feel to the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team’s dominating run last weekend at Kentucky—at least for a while.

Truex captured the first stage comfortably, increasing his series-best playoff points total to 29 and led the first 78 laps. But there the domination ended.

Divergent pit strategies put Truex deep in the field for the start of the second stage, and a flat right front tire forced him to pit out of sequence in the final stage. A poor restart from the bottom lane after the final caution cost him track position, and Truex couldn’t advance beyond third before the checkered flag.

The good news? Truex increased his lead in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings to 38 points over race runner-up Kyle Larson, who is second in points.

“We had a really good WIX Filters Toyota for most of the race and led a bunch of laps and then got that flat tire, kind of got off sequence,” Truex said. “Whatever happened there after lap 200 or so, I think the VHT (traction compound) was kind of wore off the track, and we started to lose our edge a little bit there. We still had a shot, but on the last restart we got the inside lane there, restarted third. It wasn’t the place to be, obviously.

“I think the 11 (race winner Denny Hamlin) started fourth, and that was really the place I would have liked to have been. And then we just didn’t get a good restart on the bottom and lost a couple spots and had to battle back and then just didn’t quite have the speed at the end of the race that we had the first 200 laps. All in all, it was a tough-fought day. We had to come from 24th at one point (at the start of the second stage), and just a hard-fought day, a good job by everybody and a solid third-place effort. Just didn’t have enough there at the end.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.