Furniture Row Racing driver led 28 laps on Saturday in runner-up finish Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Vote: Ultimate Daytona Challenge DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- For a driver that was out front for one lap all of last season, leading a race-high 28 laps in the span of one night marked a refreshing change for Martin Truex Jr . Though the strong performance came in the non-points Sprint Unlimited, Truex was able to take some encouraging vibes from Saturday night's second-place finish at Daytona International Speedway. At the same time, the heartening result carried a bittersweet feel, coming home just car-lengths behind race winner Matt Kenseth at the checkered flag. "Well, it feels good and bad," Truex said. "To lead all those laps and come home second, it stings a little bit, but honestly after the year and a half I've had -- on and off the race track -- that was a lot of fun. This team really needed that; I really needed that. This is the most fun I've had in a race car in a long, long time." Truex kicked off his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with Furniture Row Racing on an up note, bearing a sharp contrast to the No. 78 Chevrolet team's mighty struggles in 2014. In addition to his laps led tally being singular -- Truex led Lap 163 at Talladega Superspeedway last October -- instead of plural, he also netted just one top-five finish, a fourth place at Kansas Speedway in the fall. The off-track hardships Truex referenced were shouldered by his longtime girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last August. Pollex was in Daytona for Saturday night's exhibition, and Truex gave her and the fans braving the chilly temperatures a show. Truex lined up 10th after a random draw for starting position, but took the point for the first time by Lap 11. His car was one of the few in the 25-car field able to carve through traffic and change lanes with relative aplomb -- experience, he said, that should carry over as the rest of Speedweeks head toward its pinnacle, the Feb. 22 Daytona 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX). Truex's primary Daytona 500 car encountered a small setback during Saturday's early practices when the No. 78 crew discovered a crack in the oil pan. The team did not have to change engines, keeping the driver's confidence up. "I learned a lot tonight that's going to help us throughout the week, mostly next Sunday for the race," said Truex , who started second in the 500 last season. "Obviously we learned a lot about our race car. We learned that it is fast. It's got speed. But honestly it's been a long time really, a couple years, since I had a car that I could make moves like that with, you know, make moves to take the lead, hold guys off for the lead, be able to run at the front all night long. So I learned a lot." But the learning experience wasn't limited to Truex's feel behind the wheel. The exhibition also gave the driver a test run in communicating with new crew chief Cole Pearn, making his debut atop the pit box. "That's kind of what we wanted to do," Pearn said, "going back to being able to run this race, is just trying to figure out what you have to do as far as what position you need to be in to get a good result and how the car's going to handle. … I think from that, it was a good test and honestly, pretty pleased with the results, so I think we can use this information to roll forward the rest of the week." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Martin Truex Jr . talks about his impressive showing in the Sprint Unlimited, and what it means to him to start the year off strong.
Biffle, Bowyer, Stewart among the drivers involved Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Contact between Greg Biffle and Joe Nemechek off Turn 4 triggered a big wreck that collected a total of six cars in the final 20 laps of Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Clint Bowyer, Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., Kyle Larson and Tony Stewart were also involved in the multicar pile-up. The red flag was displayed for clean-up on the track. At the drop of the red, the top-five running order was as follows: Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Martin Truex Jr . and Kevin Harvick. This story will be updated. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Furniture Row Racing looks to benefit from West Coast trifecta Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live This year's shift within the early part of NASCAR calendar, including the advent of a three-race West Coast swing, will save some teams the extra effort of crisscrossing the nation. For one organization in particular, the benefit is even greater. Furniture Row Racing, the only full-time Sprint Cup Series team based west of the Mississippi River, aims to take every advantage from the schedule change that it can. The Denver, Colorado operation -- located more than 1,500 miles from the industry's Charlotte, North Carolina hub -- enters its 10th year in NASCAR and its second season with driver Martin Truex Jr ., bent on improving its 24th-place rank in the final 2014 standings. With a 36-race slate spread around the United States, travel is a necessary price to pay. Now, however, the schedule follows a more logical progression, scrapping the former Daytona-Phoenix-Las Vegas-Bristol-California turn for a cleaner Daytona-Atlanta-Las Vegas-Phoenix-California quintet that runs three events in Western states on consecutive weekends. "It's definitely a good change, I think, having all three West Coast races back to back," Truex said. "That Phoenix, California, Bristol … whatever it was, it was a nightmare for everyone traveling. Logistics, haulers back and forth across the country, switching out cars -- it was definitely a good change, I think. For us to be out there for a week, have some fun, do some things and cut down on travel costs, it's a good thing for everyone." Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone, a former director of NASCAR's Research & Development Center, said the team will continue to rely on the symbiotic relationship with the company that car owner Barney Visser founded in the Rockies in 1972. Garone said a furniture truck travels each week to North Carolina for deliveries, but that its other purpose is to exchange racing parts to bring back to Colorado. Garone said the schedule alteration should help the team early on, but that the calendar always seems to balance itself out. "Obviously, any time we're racing out West, it's a better situation," Garone said. "It's harder on the East Coast guys and easier for us, but we get payback when we go back East." For Truex , the truer test of the opening five- or six-race sequence has less to do with logistics and more to do with performance, especially for a single-car team that went from qualifying for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs in 2013 to leading just one lap all of last season. Once Furniture Row makes the turn from winter to spring, Truex says the No. 78 Chevrolet team will have an indication of how well he has meshed with new crew chief Cole Pearn and whether the organization is ahead of the game concerning the new 2015 rules package. Truex hopes the results from that litmus test turn out to be bellwethers worth waiting for. "The first five races or so -- you have Daytona, a speedway track, a couple downforce races and a short track -- you pretty much know where you stand five or six races in," Truex said. "Everybody will have a good idea of where they're at and what they need to be working on. It's always a fun part of the year when guys are developing new things, and you're always optimistic that your team is one of the ones that's going to get on the new stuff quick before everybody else and have an advantage for a while. "Looking forward to it. I think that we've got a great group of guys put together, and again, with what we've built on last year and the new rules really fitting into our wheelhouse a little bit better, I think there's a great opportunity for some success for us early in the season, and I hope we can take advantage of that." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Drivers exit early from Daytona 500 practice led by McDowell
Longtime girlfriend diagnosed with ovarian cancer RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Martin Truex Jr . will not be on hand for practice and qualifying Friday at Michigan International Speedway due to medical issues of longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex, according to Furniture Row Racing officials. Pollex was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. According to her Twitter account, she has a "big surgery" on Friday. "Sherry and Martin would like to thank the NASCAR community for all the well wishes," the team said in announcing Truex's planned absence. "They have requested that everyone respect the family's privacy as Sherry begins her treatment and recovery." Reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton (ThorSport Racing) will practice and qualify the team's No. 78 Chevrolet. Truex Jr . is expected to arrive in Michigan, site of this weekend's Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, on Saturday to begin preparations for Sunday's event. The Truck Series is scheduled to compete at MIS on Saturday. "Everyone at Furniture Row Racing extends their thoughts and prayers to Sherry during her treatment and recovery period," FRR general manager Joe Garone said. "She is a devoted supporter of our race team and we can't wait for her to return to the track." According to information on the Martin Truex Jr . Foundation website, "Sherry’s passion is helping children and specifically those fighting pediatric cancer. … She is the creator of the Foundations' annual Catwalk for a Cause, which seeks to raise funds for children with special needs." Truex Jr ., twice a champion in NASCAR's Nationwide Series, is in his ninth full season of Sprint Cup competition. His younger brother, Ryan, moved up to Sprint Cup this year and competes for BK Racing. Pollex responded to well wishes on Twitter with the following tweet: Thank you so much for all the prayers!!! I'm going to need them. But I'm a fighter. I can beat this!! Cancer picked the wrong chick — Sherry Pollex (@SherryPollex) August 13, 2014 MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Contact between Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr . brings out a late race caution in Atlanta setting up a shootout for the win. They would have words in the garage after the race.
Rookie has developmental deal with Richard Petty Motorsports RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Ryan Truex 's rookie season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has not gone as he would have liked, and the 22-year-old has found himself out of a ride at BK Racing. Truex told The Press of Atlantic City , a newspaper in New Jersey, that he has parted ways with the team for which he drove the No. 83 Toyota in 23 races this season. He was on the initial entry list for this weekend's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway but has since been replaced by Travis Kvapil , as he was last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . "I gave it my best effort and they gave me my first full-time Sprint Cup ride, and I'll always be grateful for that," Truex told the newspaper during an appearance at an annual fan event put on by his brother, Martin Truex Jr .'s, foundation. "But we decided it was time to part ways and move toward the future." In his 23 starts , Truex had an average finish of 35.6. His best result was a 20th-place finish in August at Pocono Raceway . "It's been an up-and-down season for sure," Truex said. "It was my first full season in any of the top three series ever, so it's been a learning curve for me. Being a rookie and being out there and getting the experience was the biggest thing." What's next for Truex ? He does have a developmental deal that he inked with Richard Petty Motorsports last year. The two-car organization has an opening in its Sprint Cup garage following the announcement earlier this month that Marcos Ambrose was leaving the team. "That's a long deal, it's a multi-year deal," Truex said. "Hopefully we can do something with it. There's a lot of things going on. I think I have a solid future with them." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Martin Truex Jr . celebrates his first NSCS victory since 2007 and captures MWR's second at Sonoma.
Martin Truex Jr . has a tire rub that ends with him in the wall at Bristol Motor Speedway.