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Truex Jr. tires of giving away wins

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Friday, Apr. 19, 2013

Second-place finishes, while certainly good, are not a favorite of NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr. these days.

That’s because he wants to win.

Who can blame him?

Truex’s only victory on NASCAR’s top circuit came in 2007 at Dover, Del. – a winless streak which now stretches 210 races.

It appeared Truex was going to snap that streak last weekend at Texas, but Kyle Busch beat him off pit road on the last stop and went on to victory. Truex was left in second.

The series moves to Kansas Speedway this weekend – a track where Truex has had mixed results in nine starts, but not last season. In both Kansas 2012 races Truex finished – you guessed it – second.

A 32-year-old native of Mayetta, N.J., he recently spoke about his frustration at reaching Victory Lane and his hopes of the weekend with his No. 56 Michael Waltrip Racing team.

Q: Given how the season has gone, is the Texas run something you can build on?

“We’ve had a rough season so far as finishes go. I think with three races we have been outside of 30th. Finishing second is good. I’m not saying that’s not the case. It’s just when you’ve been so close to winning so many times since your last one, it really sucks to run that good and finish second. Circumstances, the way they play out sometimes, they go that way.

“In my case, I think we’ve run second like eight times or something. If I had a second-place car I’d be happy right now, or if I had a night like Carl (Edwards’) and I fought my butt off to get second, I’d be much happier than I am now. But it just hurts when you give them away.

“It’s so hard to get in position to win these races. It is so hard to make your car good enough to beat Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch and all these guys; and we had that (at Texas). We’ve got to get better at taking advantage of that. That’s where we’re missing and that’s what we need to work on. So, that’s why I’m upset. Second is a great accomplishment, but it’s not what we’re here for.”

Q: Do you think you can accomplish your goals this year?

“I really do. I know everyone says this every year, we all do. But I feel good about my team. We’re all back together. My crew chief Chad (Johnston), last year was his first time ever being a crew chief, but I think he’s really grown a lot and learned a lot. I think as a team, we’re better prepared than any team I’ve ever been a part of.

Q: Having finished second last year on a new track at Kansas, how do you think that’s going to play out for you?

“I think it will be good. We had a good run in (Las) Vegas, ran well at Texas. It seems like our mile-and-a-half, big-track program is pretty good and I kind of like Kansas. So, I’m looking forward to going there. … We’ll just try to go there and have another good weekend.”

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