Martin Truex Jr. will make his 400th Sprint Cup Series start this weekend at Kansas Speedway, and he’s hoping it’s a story of redemption.
In May, Truex dominated the 1.5-mile oval by winning the pole and leading a race-high 172 laps. But after a Lap 210 pit stop, Truex reported a loose wheel and vibration, which ended up being the result of a broken bolt off the brake that had lodged behind the right front wheel. After making an unscheduled stop, Truex finished a disappointing 14th.
Since then, the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops / TRACKER Boats Toyota has led 1,224 laps and picked up four wins. Truex has also advanced to the second round of the Chase.
“That was just one more race at Kansas where we were dominant but didn’t close the deal,” Truex said in a team release about being winless at Kansas although he’s led 518 laps. “But right now I am happy we’re headed to Kansas, this is a race we feel we can run up front and possibly win. When we left Kansas in May, I said, ‘If we keep on bringing cars like we had tonight we’re going to win.’ Since Kansas we have done that, winning four times.
“I am hoping that my 400th Cup start will be much better than my first one. Can’t believe it’s gone by this fast but I am sure enjoying every race, especially this season. It’s been awesome to be part of a great race team.”
Truex’s 399 Cup starts have been nothing short of an adventure.
In his first Cup start at Atlanta in October of 2004, Truex finished 37th with Dale Earnhardt Inc. In 2006, he began his full-time Cup career with the organization and earned his first career win at Dover International Speedway in June 2007.
Truex moved to Michael Waltrip Racing in 2010 and spent four seasons there, picking up one win. His time there, however, will be remembered for the controversy at Richmond International Raceway surrounding his then teammate, Clint Bowyer. NASCAR deemed Bowyer and MWR manipulated the outcome of the race, which resulted in Truex qualifying for the Chase. When handing down penalties, Truex was removed from the Chase and later lost his sponsor, NAPA during the fallout.
The following year, Truex landed at Furniture Row Racing where he’s been ever since. Truex has picked up five wins with the team and made it all the way to the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season.
In Truex’s 399 starts he has seven wins (five with Furniture Row), 47 top fives, 132 top 10s, 10 poles, 4,051 laps led. Of those laps led, 2,162 have been accumulated since joining Furniture Row Racing.
“We have a great team,” Truex said. “I’m just honestly thankful that I am getting to show my talent, my capabilities behind the wheel and focus on continuing this roll that we’re on, and what it’s going to take to do that, so I don’t take it for granted. I know that in two weeks it could be gone. You just never know in this sport, that’s why I’m living in the moment and enjoying myself. I love working with my race team.”