Martin Truex Jr. fired off well in the No.19 Toyota for the first time from 11th to 4th during the opening few laps.
But he made his first stop on Lap 22 under yellow following a debris caution involving Corey LaJoie.
For the second half & rest of the opening checkpoint, Truex played the safe game at the back row before he finished 30th.
Having pitted again from the 2nd yellow before the conclusion of Stage 1, Truex stayed out & restarted in 13th.
Five laps in, Truex took the quick dip on pit road for fuel only to make for strategy.
He remained in 18th for the next twenty laps until Parker Kligerman & Casey Mears made contact on Lap 106.
From there, he pitted again for full treatment before coming home at P20 by the halfway mark.
Truex restarted from the same spot as was at the end of the 2nd segment having slipped down to 28th.
When the first of the late yellows came out with 41 to go, there’s chaos happening on pit road when he sped too fast on pit road.
He may have slowly made his way back up, but with 9 to go Truex couldn’t get his No.19 car home via “The Big One” carnage at Turn 3.
With no choice, Truex had to end his day early and finish 35th.
The No.19 Camry may not have the fastest car & have used different strategies to help him emerge up top in the end.
It was going to happen if Truex survived a lot of “The Big One” wrecks, but fell short with nine laps left.
If Truex stayed until the checkered flag, then he would’ve helped Joe Gibbs Racing achieve the first Top four finish.
Everyone does feel sorry for Truex having started 2019 on the tail end of the Drivers’ Standings.
Though, it’s only Round 1.
There’s time for Truex to bounce back & fix those mistakes going into Atlanta this weekend.
He’s grateful that some of the old Furniture Row crew have come along & get settled into his new team.
It’s the place where the No.19 Team needs to match the other cars to reflect the overall performance at JGR.
That didn’t happen when Daniel Suarez was around in 2017-18.
Now, Truex is here to flip this team around and make it his own as it’s still possible to rack up significant milestones this year.
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- Feature Image: Joe Gibbs Racing