By: Pete Pistone – @PPistone | MRN.com on April 10, 2016 | 2:26 A.M. EST
“That’s the way it goes sometimes. I’m proud of my guys for the race car they brought. That thing was so fast all night.” (Photo: Getty Images)
A strategy call turned out to be the wrong one for Martin Truex Jr. in Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
The Furniture Row Racing driver had one of the fastest cars of the night. Truex Jr. was so good he led a race-high 141 laps.
However, things went sour late in the race when crew chief Cole Pearn decided to stay out under caution while most of the leaders came to pit road for fresh tires. On what turned out to be the last restart of the night, the call proved devastating for Truex Jr. who could not fight off eventual race winner Kyle Busch who did pit for fresh rubber.
Once Busch got by with 34 laps remaining in the race, Truex Jr. was left to watch the Joe Gibbs Racing driver take off and drive away to the checkered flag.
“We just ran out of tires, you know,” Truex Jr. explained. “Made it through (turns) one and two side-by-side, got to three and just didn’t have the grip. Then we fell back because we were sliding around. Everybody had new tires, we ran under caution for a long time, they keep building air pressure and losing grip.
“Pretty big disadvantage, but can’t say enough about the guys for the race car they brought here and the weekend we had. It hurts. It’s happened a few times to me here. Hurts a little bit, but we’ll get over it and we’ll move on and we’ll take the positives out of it tonight.”
Truex Jr. faded back to finally finish sixth but it was his third straight top-10 at Texas.
Although he’s gotten off to a frustrating start to the year, which began on the losing end of a photo finish to Denny Hamlin in the Daytona 500, Truex Jr. remains optimistic his team will continue to challenge for victories and the championship as the season wears on.
“It’s frustrating, but that’s racing,” Truex Jr. said. “That’s the way it goes sometimes. I’m proud of my guys for the race car they brought. That thing was so fast all night, we did everything we were supposed to do except for that one deal there. I don’t know. It hurts, it’s tough, but we have a lot to look forward to this year. We have great race cars and we have a lot to look forward to. We’ll go back home and get to work and hopefully come out smarter and stronger.”