HOMESTEAD, Fla – We already knew it would be an emotional day for Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing. For the final time, they’d race. Once the checkered flag dropped on Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, FRR would be shut down. Unless you’ve lived under a rock, you know the backstory.
So, in order to keep the goodbye’s less emotional, why not end the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season with another championship.
Instead, they came up 1.725-seconds short.
Truex, who vowed to make it difficult for Joey Logano at Homestead, drove with class as he didn’t impede Logano’s momentum on Lap 255 when Logano looked to pass Truex Jr. for not just the lead of the race, but for the championship too.
Truex, said on Thursday that he had a “free pass” on Logano. Well, his No. 78 Toyota couldn’t hold off Logano’s No. 22 Ford and he just didn’t have enough speed to catch him for payback either.
Logano first, Truex second.
It was an emotional end for the entire organization to come up just short. Truex, said that the caution and when it flew hurt his chances. His car just wasn’t very good on short run speed.
“It’s a tough night,” a dejected Truex said. “You know, it’s a tough way to lose. You know, kind of reversed the tale from last year. Last year we did the same thing they did tonight. That’s the way it goes.
“Just didn’t play out the way we needed it to. We were terrible for 10, 15 laps on new tires and was able to get a good restart there at the end luckily and get out front, just I had nothing for him at the end. I needed 15, 20 more laps, and that’s just the way it goes. I’m not sure what else to say.
“Really proud of everybody on our team, you know, for fighting hard this year to get to where we were, and without that last caution it was in the bag maybe, I think. We’ll see. But hurts a little and going to miss all the guys, and had a hell of a five years with this team. So just proud of them, and we’re going to celebrate no matter what tonight.”
That’s the story of Truex’s year though. His 1.5-mile speed just wasn’t there like it was last year. While he did have 20 top five finishes and 21 top 10’s, he went the final 16 races of the year without a victory. That just isn’t going to get it done.
Now, he heads to JGR wondering what might have been.
All of it, really,” Truex said on what he will remember the most of his time with FRR. “You know, to go from a two-race winner to a 19-race winner, a championship, fourth in points, a second in points, it’s just been amazing. Everything about it has been great. Everything about it has been the best thing I’ve ever been a part of. You know, I feel good about my future and going to a great place, and I know we’ll have more success. But it’s going to be different. You know, it’s going to be a different team, a different cast of characters, and these guys were a special group, and I’m very thankful to get to work with all of them.
“A few are coming with us, but the ones that aren’t I wish them the best, and we’ll be friends forever. It’s just been a good ride. It’s been a good run, and I hate to see it come to an end, but everything ends somewhere and things change.”