|credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs|
Despite winning back-to-back Xfinity Series Championships (it was the Busch Series at that time) for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Truex Jr.’s Cup career hasn’t quite lived up to the promise he showed while winning six races in each of the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Not yet, anyway.
For a variety of reasons, most not of his making, he’s been in team situations that kept him from achieving results that matched his efforts and abilities.
In ten seasons, he’s visited Victory Lane just three times. Each of those victories was for a different team, the most recent coming earlier this season at Pocono Raceway in the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevy. That win put him in the Chase, and he’s managed to finish well enough so far to quietly advance to the Eliminator 8 Round.
He doesn’t mind flying under the radar, though. He doesn’t mind being the underdog, either.
“I really enjoy the underdog role. It’s really cool for a lot of reasons. If you look at our race team, we are an underdog. I’ve never been in a championship battle in this series. I’ve got a rookie crew chief. We’re a single car team in Denver. There’s a lot of reasons why we really do fit the mold of an underdog.”
Still, everyone likes to be appreciated and Truex Jr. is no different, especially after a spate of questions that had nothing to do with his car or his team.
“At the same time I get frustrated sometimes because I feel like what we’ve done this season gets overlooked. I think people have short memories. We were second in points in the summer and we’ve had a really good season,” Truex said on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.
“There are a lot of times where I’d like my team to get a lot more credit than they have. Sometimes, I’d like to get a little more credit as a driver, but at the end of the day that’s not what really matters,” Truex explained. “What really matters is us coming out here and doing our jobs. For us, it’s really all about our expectations of ourselves and we’re going to be disappointed if we don’t perform at the level we know we are capable of.”
He’s hoping to better his position with a solid finish Sunday in the AAA Texas 500.
“Texas has been a really good track for me over the years. We weren’t that great in the spring race. We need to get better. The guys are excited about the car they brought and what they’ve got working; so I’m looking forward to seeing what we’ve got and go from there.”
“We’ve got three to go. We’ll see what happens. We’re having fun with it and hopefully we can get the job done to the best of our abilities.”
LJ Cloud, aka Lisa or Janine, lives in Houston and considers Texas Motor Speedway her home track. A fifth-generation Texan, she began watching NASCAR in 1997, followed by almost every other form of motorsports from F1 to lawnmower racing.
She's been a part of the Skirts and Scuffs team since May 2011, beginning as a contributor, then became a media rep, photographer, and associate editor covering both NASCAR and the Verizon IndyCar Series.
LJ's other interests include photography, writing, reading, natural health, history, and genealogy. She works for Family Tree DNA, a company that performs DNA testing for genealogical research.