Martin Truex Jr. hasn't won a race in over six years, dating back to Dover in 2007. He has come close several times over the past two seasons, including Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway where he finished second to Kyle Busch in the NRA 500.
Truex led five times for 142 laps on Saturday night, the most he has led since last spring at Kansas, another race in which he finished second. In short, Truex has had enough of playing the runner-up.
"Finishing second is good," Truex said. "I'm not saying that's not the case. It's just when you've been so close to winning so many times since your last one, it really sucks to run that good and finish second. Circumstances, the way they play out sometimes, they go that way ... "
"It's so hard to get in position to win these races. It is so hard to make your car good enough to beat Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch and all these guys; and we had that tonight. We've got to get better at taking advantage of that. That's where we're missing and that's what we need to work on. So that's why I'm upset. Second is a great accomplishment, but it's not what we're here for."
Truex believes the race was decided on pit road during the final round of adjustments. He came into the pits in the lead but left in second place. Kyle Busch had the advantage of the first stall and beat Truex off pit road, but Truex doesn't believe that was the deciding factor.
"Circumstances just didn't play in our favor," Truex said. "I still feel like we should have been able to beat him out. I don't know what happened there but it wasn't even close. I was three cars behind, so it wasn't all pit position, it was other things on our end."
Not winning at Texas was detrimental in two ways for Truex.
First, he was unable to break what is now a 210-race winless streak. And second, Truex entered the race 25th in the Sprint Cup Series standings. While it's still entirely possible for Truex to rebound from a slow start to make the top ten, it would have been an added bonus for Truex to sit back on a possible wild card berth after scoring the early-season victory.
As it stands, Truex gained nine spots in the standings to 16th and is just 37 points out of the top ten. If Saturday night was more indicative of where his team stands than the first handful of races, talk of a wild card may become moot.