Through eight races, Martin Truex Jr. is 28th in the points standings and has just two top-20 finishes. Did he ever envision the season could start the way it did?
"I didn't, I'll be honest with you," Truex said Tuesday while participating in a tire test at Kansas Speedway. "We've been running – the car's been fast. Man, we've had everything you can imagine bad happen to us."
Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch are also below 20th in the points standings, but the sting of their poor starts and bad luck have been eased by wins and likely Chase qualification. Truex doesn't have that luxury at the moment.
At the season-opening Daytona 500, he lost an engine and finished 43rd. While restrictor plate engine failures are fluky, the following seven races have made Truex's look like a sign of what was to come with his new team before the season's first off week.
"It's just been one of those seasons," Truex said. "The other night (at Darlington) we blew a tire for no reason at all and we were running good. A lot of crazy stuff has happened. At California we wrecked in practice because we blew a tire and we had a backup car that was really fast and in the race and I ran 23 laps and hit a piece of debris that absolutely destroyed the nose of the car. So it's like one of these days I'm waiting for a meteor to hit the car, come out of the sky and hit it. It's been one of those kinds of starts."
While the meteor seems farfetched, if Truex's current rate of misfortune keeps up it may be possible. In addition to Daytona, California and Darlington, he crashed at Martinsville and Bristol.
He joined Furniture Row for the 2014 season in the final weeks of 2013 after Truex lost his ride at Michael Waltrip Racing when longtime sponsor NAPA left the team. Truex was coming off what was a Chase berth until his team was penalized for the Richmond race manipulation scandal and Furniture Row was following up on its first Chase berth. It was a partnership that, while inevitable because of the lack of options for either party, had the potential to be fruitful.
It still does. However, Truex may already be in a position of needing to win to qualify for the Chase. At more than three full races off the points lead, getting into the Chase via points already looks unlikely.
"But the team's done a great job," Truex said. "They're keeping their heads up, they're building fast race cars. I feel like we're getting better each week even though the results aren't showing it. We're learning about each other and getting better, so we've got to just keep our heads up and keep working on that and hopefully we can squeak out a win there somewhere and get in the Chase."
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