Lost amid Jeff Gordon's somewhat improbable victory and the chaos that ensued during the closing laps of the Pennsylvania 400 was Martin Truex Jr. finishing third on Sunday at Pocono Raceway.
"We had great speed today," Truex said afterwards. "We had good speed last week. We're still not exactly where we'd like to be. We'd like to get in Victory Lane. I felt like if we could have had a shot at the restart today, we might have had a shot at it. We were very fast at the end."
The multi-car incident on the day's final restart was triggered when Jimmie Johnson got sideways heading into Turn 1. The resulting caution and subsequent rain which ended the event 62 laps from the scheduled distance was a benefit to some, including Truex, who was able to drive through the carnage unscathed.
"The big thing is nobody took tires," he said. "We were all trying to save fuel because we knew the rain was coming. A lot of guys had stuff all over their tires. Everybody was throwing rubber off their tires trying to get them cleaned up before we took the restart.
"So all that stuff combined into those guys going off into (Turn) 1; all of them looked like they took off up the track. Fortunately, I was the third guy that didn't slide."
For Truex, this marked his best result since finishing second at Kansas back in April and moved him up to fifth in the standings. And with his Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Clint Bowyer also in the top 10 in points with just five races left in the regular season, it is all but certain MWR will have a car competing for the championship for the first time in its history.
"I'm proud of the team, for what we've done, what we've accomplished," Truex said. "This is a big deal for us. To be wherever we're at, we're in pretty good shape. To have Clint in there, to have Mark (Martin) and (crew chief) Brian (Pattie) and Michael all doing what they've done, the 55, it's been an awesome team effort all year.
"Everybody at the company has just done a phenomenal job getting our cars better."