CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 8, 2017) – Martin Truex Jr. started the second round of the NASCAR playoffs the same way he did in the first round – with a victory.
In what Truex called a flawless team effort, the Furniture Row Racing driver rebounded from early handling issues, charged to the front and came through with a couple of nail-biting late-race restarts in his No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota to score the Bank of America 500 victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“Unbelievable win,” said a joyous Truex. “Just a total team effort. Every single guy – every guy on this team just did a perfect job today and I can’t be more proud of them at this time of the year just when you want it to happen. You dream about days like today. I don’t know if we had the best car, but we damn sure got it in Victory Lane.”
It was the sixth victory of the season and 13th career win for the Mayetta, N.J. native. It was also the 12th career win for the Denver, Colo.-based Furniture Row Racing team.
The victory automatically transfers Truex into the next round of the playoffs (Round 8). There are two races remaining in the current playoff round – at Talladega Superspeedway and Kansas Speedway. Truex also picked up five playoff bonus points bringing his total to 64.
“We qualified horribly (17th) and I was mad about it,” stated Truex. “Cole (Pearn, crew chief) was mad about it and in twenty minutes we’re like alright, I think this is where we went wrong. And he’s like yeah, that’s where we went wrong. We screwed up, we’ll get them Sunday. Just thankful to him and this whole team and Barney (Visser, team owner) and everybody for giving us everything we need.”
There were many key moments in the 337-lap overtime race, but the one that stands out is when Truex came down pit road in third place following a caution on Lap 280. The over-the-wall crew, which was outstanding all day, got Truex off of pit road first. He never looked back as he led the final 57 laps.
Truex was equally impressive behind the wheel. With seven laps remaining and enjoying a safe lead, the caution came out. But Truex nailed the ensuing restart and was once again headed to victory. And if that weren’t enough suspense, another caution was called with two laps to go, sending the race into a green-white-checkered overtime finish. Again, Truex would not be denied as he was perfect on the restart and took the checkered flag 0.991 seconds ahead of second place Chase Elliott.
“A thank you to Joe Gibbs Racing for the chassis and the collaboration – these guys work really well together,” noted Truex, who led a total of 91 laps. “I got a lot to thank. TRD, Toyota, everybody. Auto Owners Insurance, Bass Pro Shops, Johnny Morris, Furniture Row, Denver Mattress, 5-hour ENERGY, WIX. We’ve got so many great partners.
“Auto-Owners Insurance started this thing without even telling me at their offices. They said it’s called ‘Ride with Martin’ for their next race and everybody contributed money to my foundation to have their name on the car and they gave me a check today for $75,000 to our foundation. They’re an unbelievable partner, so thank you to them. I’m so happy to get them to Victory Lane.(DMF/FRR/pr 10.8.17)
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race Number 30
Unofficial Race Results for the 58Th Annual Bank Of America 500 – Sunday, October 8, 2017
Charlotte Motor Speedway – Concord, NC – 1.5 Mile Paved
Total Race Length – 337 Laps – 505.5 Miles
1 – 78 Martin Truex Jr
2 – 24 Chase Elliott
3 – 4 Kevin Harvick
4 – 11 Denny Hamlin
5 – 1 Jamie McMurray
6 – 19 Daniel Suarez
7 – 48 Jimmie Johnson
8 – 21 Ryan Blaney
9 – 5 Kasey Kahne
10 – 42 Kyle Larson
11 – 20 Matt Kenseth
12 – 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
13 – 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
14 – 6 Trevor Bayne
15 – 2 Brad Keselowski
16 – 3 Austin Dillon
17 – 77 Erik Jones
18 – 37 Chris Buescher
19 – 27 Paul Menard
20 – 47 AJ Allmendinger
21 – 13 Ty Dillon
22 – 41 Kurt Busch
23 – 32 Matt DiBenedetto
24 – 43 Aric Almirola
25 – 34 Landon Cassill
26 – 22 Joey Logano
27 – 14 Clint Bowyer
28 – 23 Corey LaJoie
29 – 18 Kyle Busch
30 – 33 Jeffrey Earnhardt
31 – 15 Reed Sorenson
32 – 51 BJ McLeod
33 – 66 Timmy Hill
34 – 72 Cole Whitt
35 – 95 Michael McDowell
36 – 55 Gray Gaulding
37 – 38 David Ragan
38 – 10 Danica Patrick
39 – 83 Brett Moffitt
40 – 31 Ryan Newman
Broken Suspension Piece Relegates Jones to 17th at Charlotte Motor Speedway
DOVER, Del. (Oct. 1, 2017) – Erik Jones salvaged a 17th-place finish in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on a day that began by going from bad to worse.
The right-rear shock mount of the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota broke within the first 50 laps. Multiples stops to fix the issue under caution and then the start of a green-flag run put Jones down two laps to the leaders. He successfully battled throughout the rest of the race to get his laps back but the early issues hampered the team’s overall performance.
“It was just a frustrating day because, even after we fixed the car, we were so far back in the field that there wasn’t anything we could do to move forward for such a big part of the race,” said Jones. “The guys got the 5-hour ENERY Toyota running well but then it was just a battle to get back on the lead lap. I’m proud of all their effort because we never gave up. It’s been a tough couple of weeks but I know we all learned something today that will help down the road.”
The broken shock mount and multiple stops to remedy the situation left Jones with a 34th-place finish in Stage 1. During the pit stop under caution between stages, a heat shield was installed in the floor board under Jones’ feet after he radioed in to crew chief Chris Gayle how hot his feet were getting.
The second stage found Jones’ lap times competitive with the leaders but mired that deep in the field, he was able to pick up one lap on the leaders but only advance to 29th place by the end of the stage on Lap 190.
In the final stage, the lap times remained fast while the handling went from loose to tight. Gayle’s pit strategy during cautions as well as green-flag stops put the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota back on the lead lap with less than 60 laps remaining. Jones was 19th with 50 laps remaining and moved to 18th with 26 laps to go.
A caution with nine laps remaining allowed Jones to get fresh tires for the dash to the checkered. A subsequent caution put the race into overtime with the No. 77 Furniture Row Racing entry lined up on the outside of Row 7 for the green-white-checkered finish. Unfortunately, Jones was shuffled back to 17th by the time the checkered flag waved.(D.H./FRR/pr 10.8.17)