Keep calling them underdogs, they'll just keep biting back. Martin Truex Jr. and the single car team of Furniture Row Racing punched their tickets into the "Round of 12" with a win in Sunday's Chase opener at Chicagoland. “What can I say? There are so many people who are responsible for this and I’m glad I get to drive this 78 with everybody on this team," said Truex Jr. "This is how we want to start off. This feels awesome.” With nine races to go in 2016, Truex Jr.'s three wins this season matches his career total through 2015.
Before Truex Jr. maneuvered his way to the checkered flag, it looked like rookie Chase Elliott was in line to secure the first win of his young career. While the No. 78 beat the 24 off pit road during a late caution and again the ensuing restart, Elliott still finished third in his first taste of Chase action and seems poised to build on that success."Expect it, nothing is yours until it’s over," said Elliott. "We see more cautions come out at the end of these races than we do not. That is just part of it, you’ve got to expect it and be able to embrace it and move forward. I feel like we did a good job controlling the things that we could control today."
"There were other opportunities that were out there," said Truex in Victory Lane on Sunday. Celebrating his fourth win with Furniture Row Racing, Truex Jr. remembered contract talks with team officials last September. However, Truex was committed to Barney Visser and company and ultimately took less and returned to the Denver-based race team on a one year extension. "I believe this is the best team I’ve ever had. This is my best opportunity to win races, and we’ve proven that. It’s my best opportunity...so I made the commitment to Barney we were going to do it.” Fast forward a few months, and Truex has been renewed through 2018...AND they're expanding. Car number two? None othat than Erik Jones, the winner of Saturday's Drive for Safety 300 XFINITY Series race. The future is looking bright - and filled with burnouts - in Colorado.
Matt Kenseth has owned New Hampshire Motor Speedway, sweeping the last two races in Loudon including the 2015 Chase race. Kevin Harvick has a win at all remaining Chase tracks except Texas, and bossman Tony Stewart boasts the same. Carl Edwards has as many Chase wins as former champions Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski combined. With just one race down, things are far from decided. Fox Sports' Tim Durr takes a look at how drivers have fared at the nine remaining tracks on the schedule.