By all accounts, Martin Truex Jr. had one of the worst seasons of his Sprint Cup Series career last year.
By one measure – and there are many others – he and his Furniture Row Racing team are well on their way back to producing one of the driver’s and organization’s best.
Truex finished in the top 10 just five times in 36 races last season. So far in 2015, he hasn’t not finished outside the top 10 in the season’s first three races, including a runner-up performance in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“There was days where it was just really hard to even think about racing because it was so miserable,” Truex said. “But I think, at the end of the day, I’m proud of our guys for sticking behind me.
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“I think that there was never a time where I quit on them. I never gave up on them. We worked hard all year long, and we definitely started to see some light at the end of the tunnel at the end of the season, and that was a good thing.”
It was a difficult season in many respects for Truex, whose longtime girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and continues to receive treatment.
Truex lost his ride at the end of the 2013 season at Michael Waltrip Racing when the team’s sponsor left, giving Truex little time to find another top-notch opportunity. He ended up replacing Kurt Busch at FRR, but had little time to adjust to the fledgling organization before the 2014 season began.
By the end of the season, Truex was 24th in the series standings, his worst performance in his then nine years as a fulltime Cup driver.
“Just having a year under our belts, all working together, is what’s helped,” Truex said. “I think I was new coming into that system last year, and just getting in there, and those guys getting confidence in me.”
As the year went on, Truex said he could see the FRR organization begin to better utilize its technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing, one of NASCAR’s more successful multicar teams.
“They really bought into their engineering program, really buying into the way (RCR’s) building their cars, and really trying to stay on the same page,” he said.
Utter: (704) 358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter.