The best car Martin Truex Jr. has driven this season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is getting a well-deserved rest.
The No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet that Truex led 357 laps with over the past three points races (without earning a win) will be replaced by a new chassis for this weekend’s Axalta We Paint Winners 400 at Pocono Raceway.
Before the three-race stretch of Kansas Speedway (ninth), Charlotte Motor Speedway (sixth) and Dover International Speedway (fifth), Truex hadn’t led since Martinsville Speedway (23 laps) on March 29 but had earned a top-10 finish in every race except the April 19 race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“It’s been a team effort all around,” Truex said in a release. “From our crew chief Cole Pearn, to his engineering staff to the road crew and to all the guys back at the Denver shop. They keep bringing me fast race cars week in and week out and that’s why we’ve been on a competitive roll.”
Through the first 13 races, Truex has led 389 laps, which already is his third-highest annual total in his 10 seasons as a full-time Sprint Cup driver. His career best is 581 in 2007 when he scored the first of two career victories and made the Chase.
“We have run well at all different types of tracks this year, and hopefully we can continue that momentum in Pocono,” said Truex. “They call Pocono the tricky triangle, and that’s exactly what it is — tricky. If there were a track you would change the track bar setting on every turn it would most likely be at Pocono.”
Pocono has been fairly tricky to Truex in 18 career starts at the track. He has an average finish of 15.9 but two top-five finishes (in 2007, ’12) and six top 10s (most recently a year ago).
Truex has yet to record a DNF at the 2.5-mile track, finishing 99.5 percent of the laps in his 18 starts.
“The hardest thing about Pocono is the tunnel turn, which is a very sharp and flat corner,” Truex said. “The racetrack is narrow and when you’re coming down that Long Pond straightaway you’re looking straight at the wall going the other way and you’re running 200 miles per hour and there’s not a lot of banking. It’s just an intimidating turn.”
Pearn said another new chassis could be ready for the June 14 race at Michigan International Speedway.