Martin Truex Jr. kicked off Round 2 of the Chase with a strong third-place finish in Sunday's rain-delayed event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Inclement weather forced postponement of the race on Saturday night.
The Furniture Row Racing driver, who qualified 15th for the Bank of America 500, was quick to point out the third-place performance was a "true team effort."
"We were off in practice and I was really nervous about today's race," said Truex. "Really didn't know what to expect, but our guys stepped it up and gave me a competitive race car. Cole (crew chief Cole Pearn) and everyone on the pit box called a perfect race and made the right adjustments. And our pit crew came through once again.
"It was just hard work and a never-give-up attitude. From the time practice was over on Friday until this morning we were texting about the setup and what we were going to do and what we had to do. I'm just proud of our guys for what they did. It was a true team effort and a testament to this team and their fight."
The finish puts Truex third in Sprint Cup points among the 12 drivers in the current Contender Round of the Chase.The next two Chase races will be at Kansas (Oct. 18) and Talladega (Oct. 25). The top eight drivers will advance to Round 3 of the Chase.
"Though we got off to a good start, we can't get ahead of ourselves," stated Truex. "However I am really excited about going to Kansas next week - that has been one of our best tracks. Then there's Talladega which appears to be on everybody's mind. A lot of things can happen there beyond your control. But right now our focus is on Kansas and trying to come away with a win there."
The finish also set a couple of personal marks for the 35-year-old native of Mayetta, N.J. He set a season career best of eight top fives and tied a personal season best of 19 top 10s.
Truex's No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet first moved into the top-10 after the race was restarted on Lap 66 and reached third on lap 306, where it stayed for the remainder of the 334-lap race.
Rookie crew chief Pearn was succinct in his analysis of the Charlotte race. "Everyone pulled their weight today and we got what we needed," said Pearn. "There's still plenty of racing left and we just have to keep on being focused."
The race winner was Joey Logano. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kevin Harvick, Truex, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Austin Dillon, Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola.
The race had 14 lead changes among 10 drivers and there were nine cautions for 44 laps.
The Sprint Cup Series heads to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. next Sunday.