Larry Mac: The No. 78 team of Martin Truex Jr. beat themselves
Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the first 240 laps we only had two cautions. Then all it took was four cautions in the last 60 laps, which meant four restarts with a lot of different strategies playing out, which is normal at Loudon.
It looked to me that the only group that could beat the No. 78 car of driver Martin Truex Jr. was actually the No. 78 car. Unfortunately I think they will tell you that is exactly what they did -- they beat themselves. They and Kyle Busch elected to take only two tires while the others took four tires -- and they quickly learned four fresh Goodyear tires was a better call.
They got shuffled around there at the end and finished seventh after leading a race-high 141 laps. That Furniture Row Racing group though continues to show that no matter what type of track we go to, they are fast and will be a contender.
Meanwhile, Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 team punched their ticket to the next round with the win. It was probably exactly the shot in the arm that team needed. Sure they won at Bristol a couple weeks ago, but it's been a bumpy road over there on a pretty regular basis.
What I really have found surprising is the Ford camp. I can't put my finger on it but it just seems they have lost a little something.
For example, neither of the two Team Penske cars seemed to be with it all weekend long. The No 22 of Joey Logano struggled all race long and could only muster an 11th-place finish. For the No. 2 of Brad Keselowski to pull out a top-five finish was nothing short of a miracle in my book. So I just don't know, it seems the Ford camp is just a little bit off right now compared to the Chevrolets and Toyotas.
Something else that was interesting Sunday was Danica Patrick. She led nine laps, which was the most led by anyone that wasn't driving a Toyota. Consider it a little victory. With the way she's been running you look at any positive right now as a little victory.
For the second week of the Chase, our Chase drivers showed once again why they are in the Chase. They finished in the first eight spots. Then there were 11 of them in the top 13 and then 13 of them in the top 16 spots.
Even though Carl Edwards won the pole, it just seems that team is struggling to put a full race together and close the deal right now.They've got fast race cars. You don't sit on six poles and not have fast race cars obviously. They just aren't putting the finishes together to match how they practice and qualify.