HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Martin Truex Jr. didn't hold back his candid feelings after finishing 12th Sunday in the Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Truex, who was one of four drivers advancing to the final four in the Chase playoffs, could not overcome handling issues with his No. 78 Chevrolet. As a result of the 12th place result Truex ended the 2016 season fourth in driver points. The championship went to Kyle Busch, who also won the 267-lap race. Second was Kevin Harvick and third was Jeff Gordon.
"We came here to win and I am disappointed that we didn't give it a better effort," said Truex. "But on the other hand I am proud about how far this Furniture Row team progressed this season. I am also super proud of all our guys at the track, the pit crew and all the guys back at the shop in Denver. We came from finishing 24th last season to fourth this season. I don't think people outside of racing can truly understand what an accomplishment that is to make that kind of gain in one season. We won a race and ran up front for the majority of the season."
Truex, who never found himself outside the Chase cutline before advancing to the Championship 4, said the team worked throughout the night after practice on Saturday and also throughout the entire race to find the right setup.
"We took a big swing at the setup, but never could hit on anything all weekend," noted Truex, who led one lap. "I am not sure what we were missing, but we were missing something. I know the odds were against us being a single-car team, but again we came here feeling we had a shot. Congratulations to Kyle (Busch), nobody had anything for his hot rod today and also congratulations to Jeff (Gordon) for an outstanding career. He's a class act, who has done so much for the sport of NASCAR."
Truex, who set career season highs of 22 top-10s and eight top fives, was positive about the future of Furniture Row Racing.
"The future is bright for Furniture Row Racing," said Truex. "This is a special group of guys, led by our crew chief Cole Pearn. Barney (team owner) and Joe Garone (general manager) have given us the leadership to be competitive. That's all you can ask for. I really feel that this team will continue to make advancements and I am very confident that we will again be competitive in 2016."
The top-10 finishing drivers in the Ford 400 were: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin.
The race had 18 lead changes among eight drivers. There were seven cautions for 30 laps.
The 2016 season will kick off with the Daytona 500, Feb. 21.