Martin Truex Jr. will start 35th in the 36-car field for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
After failing to make it through pre-qualifying inspection three times, the No. 78 team did not post a time during qualifying, which puts Truex deep in the starting field. Additionally, car chief Blake Harris was ejected from the race track for the remainder of the weekend. Truex will also face a 30-minute practice hold Saturday.
“It’s unfortunate that we ahd a situation where we had multiple failures in what was otherwise a very successful debut of the optical scanning station,” NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller told FOX Sports 1. “We had rear wheel alighment problems, and we had body scan problems for the rear wheel openings and we just weren’t able to get all of the things legal in those attempts.”
Had the team elected to go through the inspection station an additional time on Friday, it would have been at risk of losing a second crew member, most likely crew chief Cole Pearn. Inspection attempt counts will reset on Saturday.
“Look, it’s a new process and we’re working hard collectively, the whole garage is, to figure the boundaries out and try to get through,” Furniture Row Racing president Joe Garone said. “And NASCAR is working through the equipment the same was and it’s just tough. One time you go through and the next time you don’t. You go through again and some things pass tht didn’t pass the time before. It’s just frustrating, but we’ll get it all worked out. It’s just a matter of time.
“It’s just a weird set of circumstances,” he continued. “The tolerances are very tight, it’s difficult to get through and push where you need to and be conservative where you need to and fight that out. It does change every time you go through.”
Through 19 previous races at Atlanta, Truex has two top fives and seven top 10s, including a best finish of third in 2008. Since joining Furniture Row Racing, he’s finished in the top 10 in three of four races, though he’s started no worse than 14th during that time frame.
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