‘Tough’ second at New Hampshire for Truex

Matthew T. Thacker/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

Although he finished second in the UNOH 175 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Ryan Truex deemed his best finish of the season as “tough”.

“Just that we’ve come so far with this group. I’m so proud of them. I’m glad a Toyota could win. Chris (Bell) has been the best truck all year. When you’ve got the best truck in the field behind you, it makes it tougher. I did everything I could to hold him off. I was trying to take his lane and block and everything, it just didn’t quite have the grip he had,” said Truex.

“I want to thank him for racing me clean though. It was a fun race. We wouldn’t have been here without Scott Zipadelli (crew chief) making the calls. I didn’t know how this race was going to shake out and every restart I just gave it my all. Lot of three-wide stuff, probably pissed a few people off, but we’re trying to win races and we’re getting close.”

Truex was able to lead 28 laps in the event. In the final stage, Truex was able to hold off Christopher Bell for the race lead until 15 laps remaining. Going into the third turn, Truex took the third lane, while Bell took the bottom lane. However, Bell was able to drive into the corner deeper and used the PJ1 on the track to take the lead away from Bell.

“I didn’t think I’d hold him off that long honestly. IT was tough to pass. Restarts were really important and I was very, very aggressive on restarts. The VHT on the very bottom, felt like you could kind of slide job people if you got down in there with all four and kind of just prayed that you were gonna make it at the end of the corner.”

Despite missing the playoffs off of a tiebreaker with Ben Rhodes, Truex continues to race others the same way they race him. That mentality was learned from his father and brother. Truex alluded to times during the race when he could have roughed up Bell and Rhodes, but did not because he knew how we would have felt being in the spot that they were in.

Truex was running Chassis 01 during the race. The last time that chassis was on the track was at Bristol Motor Speedway where he was unable to get past the 15th position. Despite his hatred for the chassis, Truex was proud of how hard his guys worked.

“That’s Chassis 01 and I hate that truck and we almost won with it. That’s its best finish by a lot. Last time we ran it, it was Bristol and we ran – I think we never got higher than 15th, so that’s a testament to how good this team is, how well we work together and how much confidence I have in Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and he has in me to make the right adjustments to get the truck fast.”

Truex believes that the No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises team is close to scoring their first win. Truex and his team had a late start at the beginning of the year since the deal to drive that car was signed in January. Truex applauds the work his crew chief, Scott Zipadelli, and his team are doing at the shop and on the track.

“It’s a small, tight-knit group of guys and we’re kind of more like a family than anything. They have confidence in me and I have confidence in them. I feel like if we could have started the year how we’re running now, with the equipment we have now and what we’ve learned, we’d be a real threat for the championship. Hopefully we can close this out and steal some wins and go into 2018 with some momentum.”

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