Ryan Truex continued to climb the point standings in the LTi Printing 200 at Michigan International Speedway with his second-consecutive top-five finish. The driver of the No. 16 Hino / AFS Toyota Tundra tallied a fourth-place finish, his fourth top-10 finish of 2017, and moved him 19 points ahead of the cut line on the Playoff grid.
Truex and the Hino / AFS Hattori Racing Enterprises team delivered an impressive weekend from start to finish. They began the weekend by positing the fourth-quickest time in the opening practice session on Friday. On Saturday morning, Truex and crew chief Scott Zipadelli advanced to the final round of qualifying and took the green flag from 11th. Truex’s inside starting position was a disadvantage on the initial start, but he managed to slice his way through traffic from 16th to finish the first stage in eighth. Truex collected three championship points, and came to pit road for two tires and adjustments for a loose condition under the ensuing caution.
On lap 36, Truex restarted second, but once again fell victim to the inside lane on the restart and quickly stabilized in seventh. Despite lacking sufficient rear grip, Truex muscled his way into the top five at lap 51 and finished second in Stage 2. Zipadelli brought Truex to pit road under the stage caution for four tires and air pressure changes to aid his persistent loose condition and add rear security. Truex restarted 10th on lap 64 and returned to the top five by lap 73. Over the final 28-lap run, Truex was involved in the six-truck battle for the race win. Truex’s bid to advance into the top three came up short and took the checkered flag in fourth behind the race winner, Darrell Wallace Jr.
There are three races remaining in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular season, and Truex holds the seventh position on the Playoff Grid.
Ryan Truex Quote:
“I’m frustrated with fourth, honestly. It’s just so hard to pass there. I got out of line when everybody got side-by-side right here, and I actually ended up losing three spots instead of gaining like I expected to. It was just so hard. If you didn’t complete the pass, they’d just like up and freight train you. It was a good day, we had a good truck, but we’re lacking just a little bit more speed to get up there and battle. It seemed like we couldn’t suck up as well as Kyle (Busch) and the (No.) 4 (truck)."
“We just need a little bit. I feel like, just like the (No.) 99 (truck), if I could have got out front they wouldn’t have been able to pass me. It was so hard to pass. You had to have someone pushing you, or have somebody pull out and you could get to their quarter panel. If you didn’t, you couldn’t make it happen. I wish they would have got three-wide coming to the line. I could have got a draft and maybe gotten all three of them. We struggled with it on restarts too, for whatever reason. I just couldn’t get up to speed like those guys. We’ll go back and figure that out. We’re getting close. Eventually it’s going to work out. Keep knocking on the door like this, you’ll eventually get one.”