Truex and team understand anything can happen in next round of Playoffs

Russell LaBounty/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

After the Holllywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, the notion that Kyle Larson would be one of the final four at Homstead-Miami Speedway were diminished after engine issues plagued the team before the conclusion of the first stage. 

Going into the “Round of 12”, Larson was seeded third with a buffer of 34 playoff points collected throughout the regular season and the “Round of 16”For race wins, and fur stage wins were not enough for Larson to advance into the next round.

Larson’s hope at winning his first championship at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level will have to wait another year. After his race ended with the engine problem, Larson was not stunned.

“I don’t know.  I guess, I’m not stunned because freak things happen in every sport.  I mean you look at every year in the past and a lot of times, most every time at least in the new Playoff format era not always does the best team win.  Not saying we are the best team, but we have been one of the contenders all season long,” said Larson. “So, I’m not stunned, because it is a long 10 race Playoff season, so anything can happen, but we have had a solid Playoffs.  We have been consistent and just now got bit.”

While Larson was out despite the buffer he had with the playoff points collected, Martin Truex, Jr. and the No. 78 team at Furniture Row Racing understand that anything can happen in the next round of the playoffs. 

With seven race wins and 19 stage wins, Truex sits comfortably as the first seed entering into the “Round of 8” with 69 playoff points, 27 points ahead of Kyle Busch. The team has a 52 point buffer over the fourth place driver. Despite the buffer, Truex and his team are focused on each race as an opportunity to increase their momentum going into Homestead. 

“It’s great to have that kind of cushion.  We are fairly comfortable compared to other years.  It’s easy to get bounced out.  Anything can happen, so… I don’t know if it’s mathematically impossible for us not to make it.  But things happen, as you know.  You watch some of these other cars, you watch what happened to the 42.  Shouldn’t have happened, but there it is,” said Barney Visser, Furniture Row Racing team owner.

With all the stage wins and race victories, Truex has been deemed a lock for Homestead-Miami going into the summer months. Although his playoff point total is more than what can be earned in one race, Truex is focused on each individual race in the next round.

 

“I’ve been saying it all year, they all say I’m a lock because I got so many Playoff points.  I’m telling you, it’s not that simple.  We got to go out and perform, can’t have an engine failure, can’t get in a crash five laps into Martinsville.  We got to focus on one race at a time and do the best job we can do, try to keep the momentum going.”

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