Fuel mileage duel costs Martin Truex Jr. another shot at victory
As Carl Edwards was busy back flipping and celebrating with the fans on the frontstretch of Charlotte Motor Speedway after winning Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600, Martin Truex Jr. climbed from his car, took off his helmet and put his head in his arms on the roof of the car.
Frustration does not begin to describe the Furniture Row Racing driver's emotions after finishing fifth.
In a story that is becoming all too familiar for the driver of the No. 78 Chevrolet, a dominant night with a solid shot a win ended with someone else in Victory Lane at the end of the night.
Leading a race-high 131 laps, Truex was poised to earn his first victory since June 23, 2013 at Sonoma Raceway.
However, when fuel mileage came into play at the end of Sunday's 600-mile event, Truex was unable to catch the four cars ahead of him that gambled on fuel and made it to the end.
"I don't know what to do about fuel mileage races," a dejected Truex said. "I've never ever, ever, ever, ever, one time in my whole career I came out on the right end of them, so I don't know. I guess I don't get good fuel mileage."
While Truex has been one of the strongest cars through the opening weeks of the 2015 season, the team has struggled to find the luck needed to put the car in Victory Lane and secure their spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
This is the second time this season Truex had the strongest car, led the most laps, but was beat by fuel mileage. The New Jersey native was the driver to beat at Kansas Speedway, but when he pitted for fuel on the final caution of the night others stayed out and Jimmie Johnson was eventually able to earn the fuel mileage win.
"Hell, I didn't even know guys could make it on gas. I didn't know what was going on. Just can't catch a break there," Truex said. "I don't know what to do about that. We had a great car. Had a chance at it and it stinks to come up short like that on fuel mileage. I've never once in my whole career gained positions on a fuel mileage deal. I don't know what I have to do to catch a break on them deals. It is what it is."
For crew chief Cole Pearn, coming so close to another victory only to come up short is getting a little old.
"It kind of gets laughable at this point," he said. "I mean, what do you do? We've just got to keep our heads down and focus on the things that got us to put us in position to win these races. If we can do that, I've got to think it's going to come."
Hate the way it turned out but damn that was fun! Well get one soon @FR78Racing.— Martin Truex Jr. (@MartinTruex_Jr) May 25, 2015
My pal @MartinTruex_Jr was flying tonight. He's likely disappointed not winning. But he's gotta be thrilled with his team this year.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) May 25, 2015