Return to Michigan gets Truex back on track with 3rd-place finish

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There’s something about Michigan International Speedway that seems to bring out the best in Martin Truex Jr.

The New Jersey native finished third at MIS in the June Sprint Cup race.

Unfortunately, his performance tailed off significantly afterward: 42nd at Sonoma, 38th at Daytona, 17th at Kentucky, 12th at New Hampshire and fourth at Indianapolis, only to fall back again to finishes of 19th at Pocono and 25th at Watkins Glen.

But Sunday, and once again back at Michigan, Truex looked very strong – much like he did through much of the first half of the season – and came out of the Pure Michigan 400 with a third-place finish.

“We passed a lot of cars, we just couldn’t ever get that track position to fight for the win,” Truex told NBCSN after the race. “We felt like we were maybe as good as the No. 20 (winner, Matt Kenseth), close at least, and it would have been nice to see if we could have fought it out with him.”

Despite some of his finishes in the previous seven races, Truex believes his showings did not tell the whole tale. He was more a victim of circumstances than poor performance.

“Man, honestly, we’ve really had momentum,” Truex said. “We’ve had such fast cars. I feel like at Watkins Glen we had the race won but we had a flat. I felt like at Pocono we were right there. We had a fast car but at the end of the race we ran out of gas.

“So, we’ve been doing what we need to. We’ve probably maybe been gambling a little too much and maybe being a little bit too aggressive, but all in all, the guys have brought fast race cars. If we could just not make mistakes and be consistent and execute, there’s no reason we can’t run in the top five every week and contend for some more wins.

“We’ve got a couple more weeks before the Chase and we’re gearing up for that. Hopefully we’ll come out of the box strong when (the Chase) starts.”

While the day ended with a good finish, restarts Sunday were an issue at times for Truex – but in the end, things ultimately worked out for the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet.

“They (restarts) weren’t too good for us,” Truex said. “We had some good ones early in the race and then it just seemed like we could never be in the right lane and it seemed like we were always in the wrong spot.

“We finally got on the outside where we wanted to be on that one when we were fourth, and the No. 19 (Carl Edwards) spun his tires and it took us backwards. So, we just couldn’t get a right lane.

“But all in all it was a good day for our Furniture Row Chevy. The guys did a great job.”

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