After qualifying second, Martin Truex Jr. was in prime position to make a run at winning the race at Watkins Glen this past weekend. Although things did not go as planned for the #78 car, Furniture Row Racing has secured a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

With 22 laps remaining, Truex Jr. was running in third position and was pretty much guaranteed a top-five position based of qualifying statistics. He even had led five laps on the 2.45-mile circuit.

Then, a flat tire derailed what had been a strong overall race from Truex Jr. and he would end up finishing in 25th-place.

Truex Jr. summed up his lack of luck on Twitter after the race:

Even with the disappointing outcome to the race at Watkins Glen, Truex Jr. has mathematically clinched a Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff berth with four races remaining in the regular season.

For Truex Jr., who leads the single-car Furniture Row Racing team from Denver, this will be his third Chase appearance and second in the last three years.

Truex Jr. talked to reporters post-race and had a cautiously optimistic outlook after the race. “I guess you can say we have mixed feelings,” he said, “but right now we are more disappointed about what happened to us today, we just can’t catch a break lately. We had an awesome car all weekend and it was very much capable of winning. We got together with a car on a traffic-jam restart and the left-front side of the car took a hit, causing a tire rub. Eventually the tire got cut down and we had to pit. Hopefully we’re getting rid of this bad luck before the start of the Chase.”

That’s the most important thing looking into the future. Once in the Chase like Truex Jr. is, anything can happen and usually does happen. For the #78 Furniture Row Racing team, they already have a championship mentality.

Truex, who is now sixth in driver points added, “We’ve had a season of strong performances so far and it feels great to know that we’ll be one of the Chase participants. We have high expectations for the Chase, I think we’ve proven that we can compete with the best-of-the-best.”

With four races remaining in the regular season, Truex Jr. can use these races as a tune-up for the Chase, starting with next Sunday’s race at Michigan International Speedway.

Now, the goal is to make the most of this opportunity to make this special season an unforgettable season.

Sammy Mugharbil, A Mile High Sports intern and student at MSU-Denver contributed to this report