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
Leads most laps for third straight race, but still no wins DOVER, Del. -- For the third straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Martin Truex Jr . led the most laps, and for the third straight race he failed to win. But Truex left Sunday’s FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway not chafing with disappointment after missing an opportunity in a potential race-winning car—as had been the case last week at Charlotte—but miffed at fourth-place finisher Kasey Kahne for closing the door on the final restart. With nowhere to go in the inside lane, Truex finished sixth after leading a race-high 131 laps. “I was inside him, and he ran me down on the apron,” Truex said. “So I either had to let off or wreck all of us. We had a good car today but it was never right. We were never right yesterday all 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. It just eventually caught up to us.” Kahne, understandably, had a different view of the green-white-checkered-flag restart. “He was back behind me to get a run on me, obviously; the spotter said I was clear, so I just went to the bottom getting into (Turn) 1,” Kahne said. “I think he was a little upset. He gave me a bump after the race. But I don’t know. I didn’t really know what else to do other than to go there with guys on my outside and stuff. “But we had a pretty good car. We made good adjustments. The guys did a nice job. I wanted more. We had a nice package, but just didn’t pull it off.” ALMIROLA GETS HARD-EARNED FIFTH-PLACE FINISH How bad was the handling of Aric Almirola ’s car early in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race? So bad that he twice went a lap down early in the race. But Almirola also got two “lucky dogs,” free pass to the lead lap as the highest-scored lapped car, and he spent the rest of the race making the most of his second chances, posting a season-best fifth-place finish in his No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford. The critical factor was Almirola’s ability to stay infront of leader Kevin Harvick before a wreck involving Brian Scott and Kyle Busch brought out the fifth caution on Lap 376. “I earned my money today, that is for sure,” Almirola said. “This Smithfield Ford Fusion was a handful most of the day. It started off extremely tight. (Crew chief) Trent Owens and the guys made really good adjustments on the car, and got it better and better. Finally we weren’t the lucky dog -- we raced and stayed on the lead lap, and when the caution came out, we got a chance to restart with the leaders. “That was the big break for us. Every time we would get the lucky dog I had to start dead last and 30-40-50 laps the leaders were right back on me. It was a great day for us, a really good points day for us. I’m proud of Trent Owens and all the guys at Richard Petty Motorsports . They have been working their guts out trying to bring better cars to the race track week in and week out.” KYLE BUSCH’S UPHILL BATTLE JUST GOT HARDER Kyle Busch ’s run toward the top 30 in points suffered a serious setback on Sunday when contact from Brian Scott ’s Chevrolet sent Busch’s Toyota into the outside wall in Turn 3 on Lap 376 of a scheduled 400. Busch was running fourth at the time and made a move to pass Scott on the inside. Unaware the No. 18 Toyota was below him, Scott turned into Busch’s car. The mea culpa, however, can’t undo the damage to Busch’s hopes of finishing in the top 30 in the standings 13 races hence. Since Busch missed the first 11 races of the season after breaking his right leg and left foot in a Feb. 21 accident at Daytona, he must win one of the next 13 races and finish in the top 30 in points to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . “This is a shame,” Busch said. “This isn’t what we need, and we weren’t going to win today, but it doesn’t help when you finish 40th.” Actually, Busch was credited with a 36th-place result, but he leaves Dover 168 points out of 30th place, needing an approximate average of 15th place over the next 13 races to have a realistic shot at the top 30. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Martin Truex Jr . and Kasey Kahne talk about their frustration with each other during the final restart in the FedEx 400 at Dover International Speedway.
Sherry Pollex's cancer fight adds perspective, purpose behind charity RELATED: Catwalk for a Cause raises money for cancer research Martin Truex Jr . rolls into his "home track" Dover International Speedway this week the most dominant driver without a win this season. For the last two points races, the New Jersey native's No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy has led the most laps. He and reigning Sprint Cup Series champ Kevin Harvick have earned the most top-10 finishes (11) of any driver in the series. And, Truex sports a whopping 25-point lead on the next closest points position to qualify for the 16-driver Chase for theCup. Truex' 2014 struggles on track -- consistent bad luck and frequent car problems in his first year with the Furniture Row team -- now seem firmly in the rear-view mirror. And away from the track, Truex's girlfriend Sherry Pollex is responding well in treatment for ovarian cancer -- diagnosed last summer. By all reasonable standards, Truex is already a winner this year. He just hasn't hoisted a trophy. Yet. Perspective has come from facing great hardship and it has been evident even in disappointment for Truex . After leading a race-best 131 laps in Sunday night's grueling Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway , he was interviewed on pit road and initially grimaced at yet another near-miss -- a fifth place finish. But before the camera pulled away, Truex had summoned a smile and offered perspective. MORE: #TBT: Truex earns first career Cup win After all that he and Pollex have endured in the past year, good days behind the wheel are a bonus. And Truex is collecting lots of bonus right now. "Toward the end of last year things were looking bad and the car wasn't running well and I was in front-line treatment (for cancer),'' Pollex said. "Now his team is on fire and they have the car to beat every weekend. I'm still in my maintenance chemo, but I live a normal life with it. "Even if Martin wasn't doing well on track, we're kinda winning at life. There are so many things we are thankful for." And as they have for years, Truex and Pollex have generously given back on their blessings through the Martin Truex Jr . Foundation. The foundation's marquee event, Catwalk for a Cause -- a fundraiser for pediatric cancer research and treatment at the Charlotte-based Levine Children’s Hospital -- was held May 13 and raised nearly $300,000. The awareness generated and hearts warmed were priceless. A couple dozen of the sport's biggest names showed up to bid on silent auction items and cheer the participants on as they walked the runway wearing fashions from local boutiques and Belk's. The Mooresville, N.C., facility's décor was created by former NASCAR driver Shawna Robinson, who recently completed treatment for breast cancer herself. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Kasey Kahne , Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick were among those who walked the runway with young cancer patients. "Sherry (Pollex) does so much and these kids have such great spirit and they don't know any different,'' said Danica Patrick , who dazzled on stage alongside fellow NASCAR driver and boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr . and 6-year old, Mya, who is undergoing chemotherapy for a form of leukemia. "It shows how you can be in those situations if you don't think too far forward, and live in the moment." It's a lesson Pollex has had reinforced. Her commitment to the spring event never wavered even in the immediate days after being diagnosed with cancer herself. "God works in mysterious ways,'' Truex said. "When Sherry first got diagnosed she thought about all the kids she had in the Catwalk before and the kids to come and said, 'If they can do this, I can do this.' ' "That was honestly the first thing she thought, 'I'm going to show them I can do it, then they will do it.' And it's a constant snowball effect." Pollex is philosophical about the irony of the situation. For years she has dedicated herself to helping this cause through the foundation's resources. "I remember not long after I was diagnosed, telling my mom that God must have had a plan for me because I've spent half my life teaching kids how to beat this disease then I ended up with it,'' Pollex said. "I definitely think it's ironic. Maybe God knew I would have to teach them how to fight and then one day I'd know what they went through. I can't imagine there being any other plan for me. "If you try to just look at the positive side of it, it's an opportunity to know what they've been through and what the treatments are like. "Nobody really knows what cancer is like unless you have it. You have an empathy that no one can explain unless you're a survivor. It gives me an opportunity to teach them to beat the disease." Because it is considered a "rare" form of cancer, pediatric cancer receives only a small fraction of the funding for research and new treatment that adult forms of cancer receive, according to Dr. Javier Oesterheld, interim director of Levine's Pediatric Hematology and Oncology unit. The money raised by Truex and Pollex is extremely important. "I will tell you, NASCAR as a whole is incredible about this,'' Oesterheld said. "This event is so amazing, how much it raises and just the awareness it puts out there. "All we need (for our cause) is our one person to really push it forward. People like Martin and Jeff Gordon . They've really made a huge difference for us." Beyond the practical side of raising money, the Catwalk has a special and undeniable tangible effect. The very people benefitting get to be a part of the process. And by the end of the evening, it was genuinely hard to see who was helping whom. The kids were grinning and laughing and hamming it up despite their tough circumstances. And the adults were smiling back at them, inspired by their strength and spirit, awed by the lesson of living in the moment. It's impossible not to leave Catwalk without being moved. "Imagine the feeling these kids get when they're up here helping their peers,'' Truex said. "They have friends back in the hospital that were too sick to come here tonight. Imagine what they feel in their heart when they're up here and everyone's cheering for them and they say, 'This is for our friends back in the hospital and for kids that haven't been diagnosed yet.' "These kids raise the money. We don't. "At the end of the day, we're both blessed to be healthy enough to do it, especially Sherry with what she's been through. This year was extra special to her for that reason." Pollex agreed. "We were so humbled all those people were there, and I feel like this year was different because of my diagnosis,'' she said. "We've always wanted to help people. And now that we can't have kids of our own it takes on a new importance in our lives. Those kids become our kids. " With the way Truex has been contending, it won't be long until the couple gets to celebrate their perseverance and resolve in Victory Lane. He's a legitimate favorite this weekend. Truex scored his career first Cup win at Dover's Monster Mile in 2007 and has an impressive two pole positions and eight top-10s in 18 starts at the notoriously tough concrete oval. "I would never want our lives necessarily to turn out this way, but Martin is a completely different person (since I was diagnosed with cancer) and looks at everything differently, not just racing,'' Pollex said. "I don't know how anyone could be the same person after going through this. "I look at it like we got an opportunity to show God what we're made of." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
His first win at Dover was also the last for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. This weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Dover International Speedway and for Martin Truex Jr ., it's a return to a site of one of his greatest triumphs. A native of New Jersey, Truex considers Dover his home track, and in 2007, the then 26-year-old found some home cooking at the Monster Mile. Driving for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in his second full-time premier series season after winning back-to-back titles in what was then called the NASCAR Busch Series, the closest Truex had previously come to a Cup victory was a second-place showing in the 2006 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . It all came together for Truex on a Monday afternoon, June 4, 2007 at Dover. Yes, that's right a Monday afternoon, after rain washed out the planned 400-lap event on Sunday. And the extra day wait was well worth it for Truex . Starting 26th in the field, Truex worked his way up and by Lap 125 he held the lead. All told Truex led 216 of the 400 laps, including 200 of the final 243 circuits to score his first career Sprint Cup victory by a stunning 7.355-second margin. His win was the deepest a victorious driver had started in the field at Dover since Tony Stewart in 2000 and has yet to be matched. "I remember everything about it," Truex said two weeks ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Sprint All-Star Race weekend. "I mean it's like absolutely everything. I remember how practice went, what we did to the car, where we were. I remember the whole weekend. "It was a special day for sure. And to win there for me, that's my home track and it's like one of my favorites tracks so it was a big deal. We had a lot of friends and family there, too." Truex stayed hot in the coming weeks with a third-place finish at Pocono and a runner-up result at Michigan. He would go on to make the Chase that season as well. However, Truex's next win didn't come for 218 premier series races, until 2013 at Sonoma when he was driving for Michael Waltrip Racing . "Honestly when we won that race we thought we were going to start clicking them off," Truex said. "We had chances that year; that was a great year for us in '07. We were in position to win a bunch of races. A lot of times things went like they did last weekend (at Kansas). It was disappointing but we really felt like that season was our breakout season. Then things started to go downhill when things started to break apart (at DEI)." The win would be the last of 24 premier series victories for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the race team founded by seven-time champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt. The month before Truex's Dover win, Dale Earnhardt Jr . announced he was leaving the race team at the end of the season. Starting with the 2009 season, DEI merged with Chip Ganassi Racing to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, a partnership that lasted until the end of the 2013 season. The win also came on the same day that Bill France Jr ., the son NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and the father to current NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, passed away at 74. --- NASCAR.com's Kenny Bruce contributed to this report FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Led race-high 131 laps but finishes fifth due to fuel mileage gambles of others RELATED: Full race results " Latest Chase Grid standings CONCORD, N.C. – Same song, different verse. For the second consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points race, Martin Truex Jr . led the most laps. And for the second consecutive points race, leading the most laps didn't result in a trip to Victory Lane. "It's a double-edged sword," the Furniture Row Racing driver said after finishing fifth in Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "It feels great to run that good again and I feel like we're going to get one but I also know how hard it is to be in that position, how hard it is to get race cars like this to put yourself in position to win. It's so competitive out here. "There's no telling how long it's going to be again, it might be next week, it might be a year from now. I don't know. It's frustrating, but it's also awesome. It hurts, but it's awesome." Two weeks ago in Kansas, Truex led 95 laps before a late stop for fuel only – hold the tires – proved to be the No. 78 team's undoing. At Charlotte in the series' longest race, the Mayetta, New Jersey native paced the field for 131 of 400 laps, giving up the lead on Lap 379 when he ducked onto pit road for a final stop. Others, including Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle , had stopped during the night's eight and final caution, at Lap 338, and chose to conserve fuel and hope for the best. Edwards won; Biffle finished second. "As far as I knew, all I had to do was catch and pass the 11 (of Denny Hamlin )," Truex said. "I didn't even know anyone could make it (without stopping). I didn't know there was anything else going on other than racing the 11. … "Once I caught him they told me there's some guys that might make it on gas. There's nothing you can do as a driver but go as hard as you can go and that's what I did." Knowing others were saving fuel and wouldn't be stopping wouldn't have mattered. "It would have just pissed me off even earlier," he said. Crew chief Cole Pearn could only shrug his shoulders afterward. "You can only run that harebrained strategy when you're back there … that's what’s so silly about it," he said of the outcome. "What do you do? A lot of times the fastest car doesn't get it done. Really for us to try and pull the strategy the 19 (of Edwards) pulled would be kind of insane … it's the way it works out. "When you're running hard you're obviously getting worse mileage because you're in the gas more. When you're running around 15th … I don't know, maybe we need to give that a try." That's not likely. If anything, the result only made Pearn that much more intent on continuing to put his driver out front. Monday might be a holiday, but Pearn said he was "ready to go to work at 6 a.m. … Work all day and kick their ass next week." Truex finished 29th at Bristol, the only time in 12 starts this season he's finished outside of the top 10. A two-time winner in the Sprint Cup Series, it's been a resurrection of sorts for the 34-year-old this season. While he may feel a bit snake-bitten, he's too busy looking at the positives to let another missed opportunity drag him or his team down. Cursed? "A little bit," he said. "But at the same time blessed to be doing what I'm doing. To have an opportunity to run up front like this, I know what it's like to be on the other side of that and I don't take that for granted. "I've got a lot to be thankful for and we're going to get us a win soon; we're going to dig hard and keep pushing forward and we'll get one." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Martin Truex Jr . talks about the possibility of adding a second team at Furniture Row Racing and how he believes they are capable of making it work.
Martin Truex Jr . says it hurts to come home fifth after leading 131 laps in the Coca-Cola 600. Dale Earnhradt Jr . and Matt Kenseth talk about their fuel mileage gamble at the finish.
Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Martin Truex Jr . and Kevin Harvick each talk about what went right and wrong at Kansas Speedway as the trio all finished inside the top 10.
Martin Truex Jr . spoke with members of the media after leading 95 Laps and finishing in ninth position in the SpongeBob SquarePants 400.