Martin Truex Jr . hits the wall in practice forcing the team to go to a backup car at Bristol Motor Speedway.
RELATED: Practice 3 results " Practice 2 results Martin Truex Jr . shuffled to the top of the leaderboard in Saturday's final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, a 55-minute session marked by an early crash by Kyle Busch . Truex drove the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Chevrolet to a best lap of 191.729 mph on the 2-mile track. In Friday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying, he managed to secure just the 22nd starting spot for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). Joey Logano claimed the second-fastest spot on the leaderboard at 191.215 mph in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Carl Edwards backed up his third starting spot with the third-fastest lap in final practice, clocking 191.189 mph on the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota. Kyle Larson was fourth-fastest with fellow Chevrolet driver Austin Dillon completing the top five. Dillon, who made a strong showing Friday by qualifying fourth, lost power on his Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet with six minutes left in final practice. Busch, tied for the series lead with four victories this season, lost control of his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota off Turn 4 just five minutes into final practice. The car slid sideways toward the infield, digging its nose into the grass and causing significant damage as it skidded to a halt. "You're leaking. Shut it down," crew chief Adam Stevens told Busch, who was evaluated and released at the infield care center. The JGR team unloaded the backup No. 18 car, which made two runs toward the end of practice. "I was just running along, everything was fine and I was actually feeling pretty good about it," Busch said. "Just started to get a little free up off of (turn) four. It started stepping out like it did here in the spring. I over-corrected and hit the wall so this time around I just kind of made it keep rotating and head down towards the infield. I think we need more grass at these race tracks, I think the apron should be full of grass." Those comments echoed the sarcastic remarks he gave to NBC Sports Network: "I think we should have more grass and it should be taller." Matt Kenseth , winner of the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying, was 16th-fastest in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota. Kurt Busch , the most recent Michigan winner in June's rain-shortened Quicken Loans 400 , was 15th-fastest in Stewart-Haas Racing 's No. 41 Chevrolet. Jeff Gordon , the defending race winner, was 21st-fastest in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet in preparation for his final Michigan race as a full-time Sprint Cup competitor. Harvick tops Saturday's early practice Kevin Harvick was up and at 'em early Saturday morning, leading the day's early-morning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Michigan International Speedway. His speed of 194.784 mph in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet was enough to top the speed charts, including pole-starter Matt Kenseth . Kenseth, the Coors Light Pole winner for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM), was the top Toyota on the board Saturday, coming in second at 194.411 mph in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20. Kyle Larson (194.013 mph), Kyle Busch (193.976 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (193.934 mph) rounded out the top five at the 2-mile track. In an effort to further test the high-drag rules package and simulate race conditions, teams communicated via radio about working together for a few laps of pack racing -- and at 9:10 a.m. ET, with 15 minutes remaining, a large contingent of cars left pit road together. Kurt Busch , the series' most recent Michigan winner in June, was 14th-fastest. Jeff Gordon , the defending race winner prepping for what's expected to be his final Michigan start, was 17th-fastest. Saturday's final practice is slated for 11:30 a.m. ET, with TV coverage on CNBC and live online streaming via Live Extra .
RELATED: Homestead-Miami hosting Goodyear tire test HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Waiting out a morning shower in the Homestead-Miami Speedway garage on Wednesday, reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick was dressed casually but clearly at work, talking with his Stewart-Haas Racing crew as they hovered over laptop computers and gestured toward his plain gray No. 4 Chevrolet SS. The last time this group was at this track, they were getting showered in champagne, not rain, celebrating Harvick's 2014 Sprint Cup Series championship title, thanks to a victory in the season finale here. But it was all business for Harvick Wednesday as he and nine other drivers came to the 1.5-mile track for a one-day open test for Sprint Cup teams, attended by three of last year's four championship contenders, also including last week's winner Joey Logano ( Team Penske ) and Denny Hamlin ( Joe Gibbs Racing ). RELATED: Anheuser-Busch to change look of SHR's No. 4 car in 2016 "You know, I actually hadn't even thought about it to tell you the truth," a smiling Harvick said of his first time back at Homestead since his title-winning performance last November. "I know that doesn't make for a great story, but no one [on the team] has even mentioned it. Everything happens so fast in this sport from a week-to-week basis and you get so caught up in what you need to do the next week. "We're always trying to look forward so I really hadn't thought about everything that happened last year. We're so focused on being in position, to hopefully have a chance to do that again and get back here." Harvick's primary championship challengers were of similar mindset. And like all of the 10 drivers here -- also including Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Kyle Larson , Martin Truex Jr ., Ty Dillon , Ryan Blaney , Clint Bowyer and Trevor Bayne -- the lone opportunity to turn some extra test laps at Homestead is something not to be missed, even if track time boiled down to a couple late morning hours before heavier rains interrupted the schedule. With the elimination-style format of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs heading into its second year, the importance of the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway has increased exponentially. When the Sprint Cup Series arrives in South Florida in three months, four drivers will be eligible for the title – the highest finisher in this race will be crowned champion. Last year, Harvick won the race and therefore, the season trophy. Logano, who collected his third win in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford last weekend at Bristol, also spoke about the emphasis teams now place specifically on being prepared for Homestead. MORE: Logano victorious in Bristol night race "Hopefully this test is very important for us," Logano said with a slight laugh. "You hope it is [because that means you're in the championship hunt.] Just getting to here (season finale) is a challenge. "If we do, then this test today will be the most important test of the year. So we definitely want to put a lot into it and make sure we get a lot out of it and really understand what we learned out of it." Logano's three wins would rank him right behind the season's four-time winners Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch for the start of the Chase on Sept. 20 at Chicagoland Speedway and like Harvick, Logano believes his team is right where it needs to be at this point in the season. "Right now, we're peaking at the right spot, and getting a couple wins in the last three weeks is what we need to do heading into the Chase," said Logano, who finished 16th in the 2014 Homestead race. "Winning the Bristol night race last year kind of propelled us into the Chase, I thought, and gave us good momentum into the Chase. Getting all the way to here [Homestead] was a heck of an accomplishment. And we just need to focus on what we need to do. I feel like as a team we learned a lot in terms of how to execute a championship weekend." RELATED: Harvick scores another runner-up finish It looks like everyone will have to raise their game to dethrone Harvick, however, who has a pair of wins and a series-best 17 top-five finishes highlighted by 10 runner-up showings already this season. "We've struck a pretty good course in terms of being able to have a plan in place for the Chase, and everyone has done a good job in terms of being prepared when it comes time for Chicago," Harvick said. "We've been ready every week. We've just got to keep doing those things. ... No different than last year when we made it happen when it counted." WATCH: Harvick chases Logano in the closing laps at Bristol
No. 78 Chevrolet takes checkered flag after leading 97 laps RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " BUY: Truex Jr . gear LONG POND, Pa. – Martin Truex Jr . knew that his third career victory would come – eventually. Enjoying easily the finest season of his NASCAR career, Truex raced to a convincing win in Sunday’s Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400, leading 97 of 160 laps, including the final 27 at Pocono Raceway . His victory marked the third consecutive Sprint Cup race in which Truex led the most laps. He'd led 131 laps at both Charlotte and Dover, only to come home fifth and sixth in the last two weeks. "We finally got it," said Truex , who had registered top-10 finishes in 12 of the first 13 races this season. "We've had a great season. We have had everything it has taken to win races (and) we just hadn't got it done. "This team deserves to win and I've known that all year long. Throughout my career I've kind of gotten used to disappointment, honestly, and I've learned to deal with those days where it didn't go your way, even though you didn’t do anything wrong." The victory ended Truex ’s 69-race winless skid. A long time coming, it was popular in the garage – even with his fiercest rivals – for multiple reasons. Truex drives for Furniture Row Racing , a bit of an outlier in the racing world as a single-car team based in Denver. Sunday's Sprint Cup victory was the second ever for Furniture Row and owner Barney Visser, who also won at Darlington with driver Regan Smith in the 2011 Southern 500. After winning consecutive NASCAR XFINITY Series titles, Truex , 34, had bounced around, from Dale Earnhardt Inc. to Michael Waltrip Racing , where it looked like he might have found a home. Then came the second Richmond race of 2013 in which Truex had seemingly raced his way into the Chase – only to have his team penalized out of the picture. He then lost his ride when MWR was compelled to consolidate. Prior to Sunday, he'd managed only two Sprint Cup victories -- at Dover in 2007 and Sonoma in 2013. MORE: Drivers rally around Truex Jr . after victory But even his on-track travails paled in comparison to those of his long-time girlfriend Sherry Pollex, who battled cancer in 2014 – a year in which Truex managed to lead only one lap all season. If that wasn't enough, Truex lost his grandmother this week. It was Sherry who told Truex to have faith and dig deep after the frustration of 2013 and that everything would work out. "I kind of believed her," Truex said. "I just knew it was going to take a lot of work. I knew it was going to be a tough road. … I felt really fortunate that there was a great ride open with the (Furniture Row) 78 … Then Sherry's situation happened and it was like: All right, this is when you show people what you're made of. She showed me what she was made of and it was like, wow, if she can do that, I can do this. "It never gets any better than this. It takes time to heal things, especially with what Sherry and I went through. This just kind of makes you forget all about it. I just feel super-blessed to be with this group of guys. I'm just proud to drive cars for them and proud that Sherry is here, healthy. She is as excited as I am and everything is going well for her." Kevin Harvick , who finished second on Sunday, said he was "really happy" for Truex . "If you're going to lose to somebody today, that's a great person to lose to," Harvick said. "You look at everything, personally and professionally, Martin and Sherry have dealt with and you have to be super-happy for them. To see them have that bright spot is something I think the whole garage will support and be happy with." Dale Earnhardt Jr ., a long-time friend of Truex , who finished 11th, concurred "I'm just happy for him," Earnhardt said. "I know he's been through a lot of stuff, both inside the car and outside the car the last several years. He's been able to get into a good opportunity with good people. He's got a team that believes in him. They've come a long way over the last several years." WATCH: Dale Jr . on Truex's victory Harvick, fastest in all three practice sessions this weekend, had nothing for Truex , who opened a 2.75-second lead with 12 laps to go. If Truex had a true advantage against Harvick, it was on restarts, of which there were four in the final 40 laps. Truex avoided the need to hold off Harvick one last time when Danica Patrick (whose crash brought out a caution on Lap 135) went spinning for a second time, but this time right through the entry of pit lane. This time, the race stayed green. "The difference was the one real good (restart)," Truex said. "Joey (Logano) was behind me and gave me a good shot. I just tried to mix it up so the (guys behind me) weren't sure what I was going to do next. I think we picked the right gear ratio for restarts here and that is critical." Truex's triumph was also the first for crew chief Cole Pearn. "We've got a really good, tight-knit group of guys," Pearn said. "That makes it a lot of fun being out there (in Denver). We've all made similar commitments in our lives. We hang out together and that just makes it a ton of fun when you can succeed with a group like that." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Truex on Ragan: 'He's probably got one coming' RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings Martin Truex Jr .'s run at Sonoma Raceway came to a sudden halt Sunday afternoon in the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Truex made contact with David Ragan on Lap 28 and wrecked in Turn 7, going into a tire barrier on the course. Truex went three rows deep into the tire barrier and his No. 78 Chevrolet was towed to the garage. The incident brought out the red flag as track workers repaired the fence. "Definitely a tough day," Truex Jr . said after being released from the infield care center. " ... When you start around 20th on those restarts, it's just a recipe for disaster. I was trying to be aggressive, made some moves. Had a couple cars passed and then the lane that I was in jammed up and the guys that I passed got back behind me. "You just get frustrated, you lose patience. I got into the 55's (Ragan's) door a little bit in Turn 7 and I guess he didn't like it and he figured he'd just dump me. He's probably got one coming, but other than that, it's just part of the restart deal and hate that I got my guys' car torn up." Truex finished 42nd. A winner in 2013 at the 1.99-mile road course, Truex started the race in 12th position but would finish in 42nd-place, his worst result of the season. After a top-10 effort at Michigan on June 14, he became the first driver since Richard Petty in 1969 to have 14 top-10 finishes in the first 15 races of a season. Ragan would later exit the race after wrecking with Carl Edwards on Lap 78 and finished 39th. "With Martin , he just flat-out door-slammed me and ran me completely off the race track," Ragan said after a wreck later in the race sidelined his No. 55 Toyota. "I had all four tires in the gravel and again, I'm just trying to blend back on the race track and he was right there. So Martin just made a mistake and he paid the price for it." -- NASCAR.com's Zack Albert contributed to this report FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 78 places third, carries momentum from Michigan RELATED: Complete results for Michigan " Analysis of all 43 drivers at Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Martin Truex Jr . almost made the most of Sunday's rainy race day at Michigan International Speedway , aiming for his second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory on the heels of the previous weekend's Pocono breakthrough. Instead, a brush with NASCAR royalty and continued momentum were respectable consolation prizes. Truex finished third in Sunday's rain-shortened Quicken Loans 400 , failing to lead a lap for the first time in a five-race span. But the streak associated with his strong start to 2015 became a historic one. With Sunday's result, Truex became the first driver to post 14 top-10 finishes in the season's first 15 races since King Richard Petty in 1969. "Just missed it a little bit today, but really proud of our season, really proud to have obviously my name mentioned next to Richard Petty," Truex said. "The King is pretty special, so thankful for my team and what they've done this year, and hopefully we'll keep this thing rolling." Momentum, as it pertained to the race itself, was difficult to achieve. The multiple starts and stops for periodic rain showers resulted in four red flags and more caution laps than green-flag laps in the opening 50 circuits. Even with the interruptions, Truex had moved all the way from his ninth-place starting spot to second in the running order. But in Truex's mind, the race turned for the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Chevrolet team and crew chief Cole Pearn during their first pit stop. When the yellow flew for a competition caution on Lap 40, Truex entered the pits in second place but left in seventh as the crew waited to get extra fuel in the tank. Truex lined up on the less-advantageous inside row for that restart and subsequent ones, halting his progress until the latter stages of the race. Measuring progress through the handful of brief rain delays wasn't an easy task. Pearn has been an integral part of Furniture Row's rise in his first season as a Sprint Cup crew chief, but for all his early signs of pit-box savvy, he'd never quite seen anything like the soggy Sunday in Michigan's Irish Hills. "It's got to be the weirdest race I've ever been a part of, that's for sure," Pearn said. "As many caution laps as we ran, the strategy kept changing. I felt like we did right at the end there, which it either could've gone green or could've restarted on the front row or fourth, I think we could've had a shot to win. "I felt like the car was good enough, but it's really hard to know. The pace was up and down -- some runs were really slow and then it picked back up at the end there, so it was all over the map." MORE: Manufacturer change for No. 78 team? For Truex , the rain delays posed less of an impact on strategy than they did on his focus. "More than anything it's just a pain in the butt," Truex said. "I mean, you get in there, you get ready to go, and you're like, all right, here we come, getting ready to go green, and it's raining again. It's just a pain in the butt. Once you get in the car and get the helmet on and get mentally prepared, you're ready to go, it's kind of just a big letdown when you've got to stop and get out of the car again. "More than anything, we just want to get out there and get racing and put on a good show and then get to go home and spend some time there." Circumstances -- whether rain- or restart-related -- didn't fall in favor of the Furniture Row outfit with the same alignment that they did at Pocono Raceway . But the team gets to carry the headway from another top-five finish back to its Colorado home base with an idle week for the series coming up. "I really felt like we had a good car capable of winning the race today; we just didn't really have the track position to show it, having to stay on the bottom as much as we did," Pearn said. "But that's just the way it went. Still good to keep the momentum going and have something we can continue to build off of." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver acknowledges challenges involved with one-car organization LONG POND, Pa. -- Eight weeks ago, Martin Truex Jr . snapped his 69-race winless streak in very convincing fashion, leading 97 laps at Pocono Raceway on his way to winning the Axalta 'We Paint Winners' 400 for his third career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win. Now, he is back at the "Tricky Triangle" for Sunday's Windows 10 400 (NBCSN/Live Extra, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and the driver of No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet is looking for the season sweep at Pocono. "It feels a little different coming back this time for sure. It feels good. It was definitely a huge weekend for us, for all of us; for me, my team, for Barney (Visser, team owner) and just everybody that has put so much effort into Furniture Row Racing and the No. 78 car. "Hopefully, we can repeat on what we did last time. Obviously, it’s not going to be easy, but I feel like we are up for the challenge." Truex is looking to become the eighth driver to sweep both events in the same season. His good friend, Dale Earnhardt Jr ., became the seventh driver to sweep at Pocono last year. He will not be going for the sweep in the same car he took to Victory Lane in June as he has a new Chevrolet for this race. The New Jersey native indicated there is a little more pressure on this return trip just because they were so dialed in during the previous race at the 2.5-mile track. "You definitely feel a little more pressure just because we were so good here last time that you don’t want to screw it up. But at the same time, again, the track is a little bit different and everybody is getting better. I think the Gibbs Racing cars have proven that in a couple of weeks’ time you can make some really big gains. I think those guys are really the cars to beat right now. We’ve got to continue to work hard and try to get our stuff better and try to again get up front and start leading laps again and put ourselves in position to win again." Truex followed the June win with a third-place finish in the rain-shortened race at Michigan, but wrecks took Truex out of Sonoma (42nd-place) and Daytona (38th). He followed that up with a pair of top-20 finishes at Kentucky (17th) and Loudon (12th) before notching his sixth top-five result of the season with a fourth-place finish at Indianapolis last week. "It's been a little bit up and down here lately, but I feel like we still have speed in our racecars. We really haven’t been to any tracks where we feel like we have really performed well at. No 1.5-miles, a place like Dover where we led the most laps, places that I tend to run really well at. I think we have some more good tracks coming up. I feel like we still have that momentum, we just kind of had some bad luck along the way." Truex acknowledged that the different rules packages unveiled in the middle of the season were not favorable to a single-car team like Furniture Row. A low downforce package was run at Kentucky last month and will be used again at Darlington in September, while a high-drag package was used at Indianapolis last week and will be used again at Michigan in two weeks. The team started 2015 strong due to its quick grasp on the 2015 rules package as Truex became the first driver since Richard Petty (in 1969) with 14 top 10s in his first 15 races of the season. "We really geared up this season and put a lot of emphasis on building our cars and focusing on the rules package we thought we were going to have. A small team like ours can't make those big changes and go after a new rules package quite as fast as, say, the bigger teams. "We really put all our eggs in that basket of 'hey these are the '15 rules.' We developed our whole car around it over the winter and going into the start of the season. We really hope that it continues down that path. At this point we are not really sure what is going to happen. It’s definitely a difficult time for the teams for sure. "A lot of money being spent on wind tunnel time and aero stuff and just trying to figure those things out, but at the end of the day we don’t even know what we are going to have yet," Truex said. "So, it's definitely difficult, especially for the smaller teams to be able to do that." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 78 gets his win, but the postseason is different RELATED: Truex breaks through for Pocono win " Drivers rally around Truex Martin Truex Jr . broke through for an emotional win on Sunday at Pocono that virtually assured the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet would be in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. But now that he has secured a winner sticker for his car, is Truex considered a legitimate championship contender for the fall? In the latest Head-to-Head, George Winkler and Jerry Snow offer their views on Truex , who has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Read their opinions, then duke it out for yourself in the comments section below. Winkler: Hey Jerry, welcome to our virtual version of UFC's Octagon. I'd like to kick things off by saying that typically I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy. Therefore, yes I'm buying into Truex being a championship contender. However, besides my penchant for being optimistic, another reason to believe in the No. 78 is because there hasn't been a reason not to believe in the No. 78 this season. Thirteen top-10 finishes in the first 14 races will do that for you. Plus, Truex has posted the most laps led in each of the past three races. His car has been fast, and his results have been anything but fluky. Snow: Thanks George, now let's rumble. Truex is one of the best stories of the season, but he's not ready for prime time. He has only three career wins and this is his 10th full-time season. Truex must develop an edge before he can be a champion. Right now, it seems like he's just happy to be here. Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are the class of the field, and if you want to talk dark horses, I could see Joey Logano or Brad Keselowski (both have an edge) in the winner's circle at Homestead before Truex . I'm happy for him that he finally broke through this year, but I don't think anyone is ready to call Truex a "closer." MORE H2H: Will Kyle Busch make the Chase? Winkler: I'd also like to see Truex show some outward fire. But that doesn't mean he lacks an inner fire. Truex has been through some difficult circumstances during the past couple of seasons. First, there's his girlfriend Sherry Pollex's battle against ovarian cancer. Before that, there was the huge setback after the Michael Waltrip Racing dustup in 2013 when Truex lost his ride. To witness how he has weathered both of those extremely difficult situations with dignity and class tells me that he's tough enough to deal with the ebbs and flows of a championship Chase in the fall. Snow: Maybe this is his time, but my gut tells me different. I'm not suggesting Truex is void of mental toughness, I just don't think he hates losing as much as a Johnson, a Harvick or a Keselowski. Those guys couldn't care less about a top 10 or even a top five. Over his career, Truex has finished among the top 10 more than 30 percent of the time (108 out of 347 starts), but he's won less than 1 percent of the races he's entered. At this stage in his career, Truex is conditioned to be satisfied with top 10s; he's obviously still learning how to win races. At 35 years old, I don't think his window of opportunity is closed, but until I see a sense of urgency, I'm going to expect the same results. Winkler: There's no doubt it will be a challenge for Truex to compete with champions like Johnson, Harvick and Keselowski down the stretch. But there's something clicking with Truex and crew chief Cole Pearn. I think that relationship has rejuvenated Truex and was exactly what he needed at this point in his career. As we saw last year with Team Penske's drivers and Harvick, once they caught on to the new rules package they seemed to maintain an advantage throughout the season. Truex and Pearn have clearly honed in on something, and the only ones not playing catch-up are Harvick and Johnson. That is impressive for a one-car team based in Denver. Snow: Truex and Pearn have figured some things out, and it's been entertaining to watch an underdog outperform some of the icons of the industry. But can we really expect him to keep this up against the big dogs? Or looking at it another way, isn't it just a matter of time before some of the established veterans like Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards put it together? Truex has the talent to win a championship one day, but it won't be this year. SHOP: Truex Jr . gear " WATCH: Truex recounts long road back to Victory Lane FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Initial frustration gives way to encouragement over Dover results RELATED: 'Six-time' wins 10th time at Dover " Race results " Updated standings DOVER, Del. – Kasey Kahne and Martin Truex Jr . may have initially been frustrated coming up short on a potential first win of the 2015 season in Sunday's FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks. But once given some time to think big picture both Chevrolet drivers seemed decidedly more encouraged than disappointed by their top-six efforts. While they may not have had much for eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson in the end, Kahne and Truex raced each other hard in the closing laps – so hard on one restart that after the race, a miffed Truex showed his displeasure by giving Kahne's No. 5 Farmers Chevrolet a little bump on the cool-down lap. By the time the drivers emerged from their cars, neither was still particularly upset. "Our car was inside him and he ran me down to the apron so I either had to let off or wreck all of us so I decided to let off," said Truex , who finished sixth but for the third consecutive points race led the most laps (131) without winning. Kahne calmly explained the situation from his perspective. "He was back behind me to get a run on me, obviously," Kahne said. "The spotter said I was clear, so I just went to the bottom getting into [turn] one. I think he was a little upset. He gave me a bump after the race. But I didn't really know what else to do other than to go there with guys on my outside and stuff." In the end, Kahne's fourth-place finish matched his best result of the season (he also finished fourth at Phoenix in March) despite a disappointing qualifying effort. "Started 25th and drove forward throughout the whole race," Kahne said. "We got to 12th or 13th and kind of stood there for a little while and [crew chief] Keith [Rodden] found us a way to get track position on the end. "I was able to get to second on the outside on the restart and basically the guy in fourth got to second on the outside and I ended up fourth. It was kind of just the way it goes late in the race on old tires. We did all we could. We had a pretty good run. … we just came up fourth." SHOP: Kahne gear " Truex items In the previous two races, Truex led the most laps and felt like he had the car that should have driven in Victory Lane but didn't. This week he conceded the car may not have been a race winner and in this case, salvaging a top-six – his series best 12th top-10 [tying race runner-up Kevin Harvick ] was a productive day. "We had a good car today, but it was never right,'" Truex said of his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet. "We were never right yesterday through practice. We made some changes today and we made some gains on it, but never really got it where we needed it. "Clean air was huge. When we were out front, we were OK. It just never turned good all day long and it just eventually caught up to us." With only one-third of the 36-race schedule completed, the 389 laps led ranks third in a season for Truex . He led 581 laps in 2007 and 434 in 2012. He remains second in driver points, 44 behind leader Harvick and 32 ahead of third place Johnson – the only multi-race winners on the season. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Martin Truex Jr . talks about his hopes of repeating the magic he found the first time around and winning again at Pocono Raceway.