Handling issues drop Truex Jr. to 18th-place finish in rain-shortened Michigan race

Martin Truex Jr. Credit: Mike Dinovo, USA TODAY Sports.
BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 10, 2018) – While running 18th, Martin Truex Jr.’s hope of making a late-race charge fizzled when NASCAR called the race due to rain with 67 laps remaining in Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
The scheduled 200-lap race was also delayed at the start for 2 hours, 30 minutes.
Truex’s No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota never could find the right balance for the high-speed, 2-mile oval which was evident with finishes of 11th and 15th in the first two stages. What also hurt Truex was being positioned in the non-preferred inside lane for the majority of the restarts.
On the final pit stop – following the completion of the second stage — crew chief Cole Pearn called for major changes to improve the handling of the No. 78 but didn’t get the opportunity to see if they would make a difference as the race was called shortly afterwards on Lap 133.
“We never could get to where we needed to be,” said Truex. “The steering was wacky, the car was bouncing, just not a good day. You’re going to have a race like this over a 36-race schedule. We’ll look at everything to see where we went wrong and then enjoy the weekend off for Father’s Day before heading to Sonoma for the road race in two weeks.”
Truex, who was the race winner at Pocono last week, dropped from fourth to sixth in the driver point standings. His two victories this season assure him of a playoff berth.
The race winner was Clint Bowyer. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray.
The race had eight cautions for 30 laps and there were nine lead changes among seven drivers.
The NASCAR Cup Series will have next weekend off for Father’s Day and then resume action Sunday June 24 at the Sonoma Raceway road course.

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