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Martin Truex Jr. still looking to end his short track victory drought

Martin Truex Jr. may not have broken his short track victory drought at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway but he did come away with another superlative.

Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Jimmy John's and Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops and Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Haas Automation Demo Day
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops and Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Ground
Race winner Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops

As the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend, Truex is the only driver to have earned five top-five finishes in the season’s first six races.

And while he remains 0-for-73 in his career at Martinsville, Richmond and Bristol, the reigning series champion did manage a respectable fourth-place finish last Sunday.

“It was definitely a difficult day for us – we struggled early, the second stage we really, really got bad and fell backwards, dropped like a rock,” Truex said after the race. “I think we barely stayed on the lead lap at the end of that second segment.

“We made a bunch of (adjustments) and got better on the long run and made it back to the front of the field. The car was good on short runs early in the race, but it was just so bad on the long runs that we got murdered.

“I’m proud of my guys for sticking with it. We were all pretty frustrated early on trying to figure it out, just kept our heads down and kept digging and came home with a great finish.”

While Stewart-Haas Racing has won four of the season’s six races – including three in a row at one point by Kevin Harvick – Truex has sort of flown under the radar.

But he is already locked in the playoffs with his win at Auto Club Speedway and his consistency has been tops in the series.

He may not be quite the master of stage wins and points as he was last season yet, but as far as staying in contention for the regular season title and playoff points bonus that comes with it, he sits just eight points behind series leader Kyle Busch.

Throughout his career, all of Truex’s Cup series wins have come on track 1-mile in length or over. During his title run a year ago, seven of his eight wins came on 1.5-mile intermediate tracks while the eighth came at the road course at Watkins Glen, N.Y.

It’s not like Truex or his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team haven’t had good results at short tracks, including Martinsville, he just has not been able to put an entire race together that results in a trip to Victory Lane.

“I think even early in my career, even this track in particular has been a tough one. Over the years, just trying to figure it out, the nuances of it and trying to figure out that feel that you’re looking for,” Truex said.

“I think here more than anywhere we go, it doesn’t change over time, but it changes throughout a weekend more than anywhere we go. It’s definitely a unique place and we’re definitely getting closer I feel like.”

Truex won’t have to wait long to try again on a short track. Following the Texas race, the series will make its first stop of the season at Bristol, Tenn. – where he led 116 laps a year ago and ended up eighth.

“I want to win at any short track at this point in time and we’ve been really good on the short tracks lately,” he said.

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