A small consolation, but Truex turns the fastest lap in practice
BY TINA AKOURIS Sun-Times Media September 14, 2013 7:22PM
Updated: October 16, 2013 6:56AM
Martin Truex Jr., the driver that has garnered the most sympathy in NASCAR’S big brouhaha this week, seemed to take his anger out on the track Saturday.
Truex, who originally made the Chase and then got bumped after a 50-point penalty, laid down the fastest speed in the morning Sprint Cup practice session. Truex drove an average lap of 182.383 mph. Truex’s average was just ahead of the newest member of the Chase, Jeff Gordon (182.328).
On Friday, Truex qualified 14th for the GEICO 400 and that run gave the Michael Waltrip Racing driver a brief pick-me-up — until he found out that NASCAR was adding Gordon to the Chase as the 13th driver. Truex seemed almost dumbfounded by the news.
“I’m not even sure what to say at this point,” Truex said. “I’m kind of at a loss for words. How they make a spot for somebody…they kick me out to make a spot for somebody and then they don’t do the same for the other guys. It’s just unfair and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
The lone wolf
Starting a couple spots behind Truex is Kurt Busch, who is the one-man team over at Furniture Row Racing.
Busch made the Chase, defying the odds, and is 10th in the point standings. After two years of bad luck — Busch was fired from Penske Racing in 2011 and since then has had a difficult time finding sponsorship funding — Busch will try to be the first driver from a single-car team in 21 years to win the Cup championship.
The last driver to pull off the feat was Alan Kulwicki in 1992. But Kulwicki’s success was short-lived. He was killed in a plane crash in April 1993, flying to a race at Bristol International Raceway.
“For us to do well in the Chase, we have to master the 1.5-mile tracks like Chicagoland, since there are five of these in the Chase,” Busch said.