Things didn’t go well for Furniture Row Racing last week in Talladega.
But their day ended together as well. The No. 78 and No. 77 Toyotas were both collected in an 18-car crash on Lap 168. Truex finished a season-worst 35th with his first DNF, while Jones left Alabama in 33rd with his third DNF and second in a row.
Now their attention turns to Kansas Speedway, a track Jones has some experience at and one Truex has done everything but win at.
In 17 starts at the track, Truex has five top 10s and four top fives. Since 2012, he has led in four races for a total of 486 laps.
Despite finishing runner-up in both races therein 2012 and leading over 90 laps three times, the eight-time Cup winner has never visited Victory Lane in Kansas.
“No matter how many heartbreaks we had at Kansas, I have all the confidence that our team will provide me with another fast race car and we will once again be competing for the win,” Truex said in a press release.
The latest heartbreak came in last years’ Go Bowling 400 when Truex led 172 laps from the pole and saw his hopes fade in the pits.
Following a stop on Lap 210, Truex reported a loose wheel was causing the car to shake. It turned out a broken head bolt off a brake caliper that landed on the stud. It eventually shredded the tire. After pitting again, Truex finished 14th.
“Why that tiny bolt didn’t fall off the stud was beyond me,” Truex said.
Truex went on to win his first race of the year two weeks later in the Coke 600. He wound up winning four times in 2016.
Through 10 races this season, Truex has one race win (Las Vegas) and leads the series in stage wins (five).
As for Jones, the 20-year-old driver is still looking to catch a break in his rookie season. Through 10 races, he’s finished in the top 10 once (eighth, Phoenix) and had an average running spot of 17.1.
Jones hopes to finally leave his mark on the season at a track he made his official first Cup start at in 2015. He drove Kyle Busch‘s No. 18 Toyota as the last substitute driver for Busch as he recovered from leg injuries.
In that race, Jones started 12th and led a lap before he crashed with 75 laps to go.
Now, making a start in a car built specifically for him, Jones hopes to take advantage of a mid-week tire test at Kentucky Speedway.
“This week’s test at Kentucky Speedway was really good for the 5-hour ENERGY team,” Jones said in a press release. “We learned some things that we think will benefit us this weekend as well as the upcoming one-and-a-half-mile tracks like Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was nice to get some data on a repaved track like what Kansas Speedway is as well. The goal is to use that information to get our season going back in the right direction.”