Martin Truex Jr. didn’t start Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race from the front of the field. He could barely see the front from his 24th starting position when the field took the green flag for the first of 10 NASCAR Playoff races to determine the 2019 MENCS Champion. But as the 100-plus degree desert temperatures dropped into the night, Truex’s No. 19 Camry came to life.
“It takes the pressure off for sure,” said Truex. “The biggest thing is that it gives me more Playoff points. The next two weeks we can try to get even more of those and that’s huge. Any Playoff points you can get will help you get to Homestead. I felt like after Charlotte, we would run good here. This package has just been so tricky to figure out. You just never know. Cole (Pearn, crew chief) and the guys worked really hard this week to come here with something different. We took a bit of a gamble, but it worked out.”
Truex’s JGR teammates struggled in the race, but will have two more chances in this first round of the Playoffs to secure their positions into the Round of 12. Denny Hamlin (15th), Kyle Busch (19th) and Erik Jones (36th) battled handling issues along with mishaps on-track throughout the 400-mile race.
The MENCS returns to action next Saturday night, Sept. 21 at the short track of Richmond Raceway in Virginia.