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MENCS: Martin Truex Jr. Rebounds For Top-Five Finish at Atlanta

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After rough start to the weekend, specifically pre-qualifying inspection, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing entry, rebounded for a fifth place finish in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

After posting the 10th fastest lap in opening practice Friday afternoon, the No. 78 machine missed qualifying due to failing technical inspection three times. As part of the penalty, NASCAR ejected his car chief for the remainder of the weekend and he was held 30 minutes of practice time Saturday.

Had the FRR team failed a fourth time, Truex would have been docked 10 driver points. The team decided not to make a fourth attempt at qualifying.

Ultimately, Truex started 35th in the 26-car field. Harrison Rhodes, didn’t make a qualifying run and started 36th.

When the green flag dropped, it didn’t take Truex long to make headway. By Lap 15, his No. 78 machine was in the top-10, and when the competition caution flew at lap 30, Truex was sixth on the track. After the restart, Truex charged to second place before eventually finishing Stage 1 fourth.

“Proud of everybody. Proud of Cole (Pearn, crew chief) for fighting, we fought our butts off and did great all day,” noted Truex postrace.

Looking to stay strong in Stage 2, Turex was positioned for a solid finish, but during a pit stop, an air-gun issue on the newly NASCAR-issued equipment made him settle for 15th.

Truex was running in the top-ten most of Stage three before a caution came by way of Trevor Bayne’s expired engine. He was running ninth at that time.

After a pit stops during the caution, Truex restarted the race for the 20-plus lap shootout. On the restart, Truex was able to gain some positions and finished the race fifth.

It was a nice rebound as Truex made up 30-spots from his starting position for his fourth straight top 10 and his third career top five at Atlanta.

“We fought hard all day, never gave up,” said Truex. “We had some issues that kind of sucked, but I guess we’ll have to work through it. We fought track position, fought the car going away too much on long runs. But overall it was a decent day and something to work from.”

Next week, Truex heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the defending race champion. He has four top-10 finishes at the 1.5 mile track.

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About Jacob Mullins

Jacob Mullins serves as the managing editor and senior NASCAR writer covering all three national touring series's. You can find him on on Twitter at @JMulls15. An intercollegiate athletic administrator by trade, Mullins can be found at the big tracks as well as the local short tracks in the Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. Mullins enjoys social media, photography and graphic design. A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Mullins follows all forms of racing, Major League Baseball (Baltimore Orioles) and college football (Virginia Tech Hokies).

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