LAS VEGAS, Nev — For the first time in his career, Ryan Truex is in the playoffs.
In his first campaign with Kaulig Racing, the 26-year-old was able to qualify NASCAR XFINITY Series playoffs following a regular season that consisted of one top-five and ten top-10’s, a stat line that is already the best the team has seen in its three-year history.
Truex will also ride into the final seven races with momentum, after finishing eighth in Saturday’s DC Solar 300.
“It’s good. We finally had a good today after like a month and a half of bad luck, where we had top-five, top-10 runs every week and it’d seem like something would go wrong,” Truex told POPULAR SPEED. “It feels good that we capitalized at the right time. This is an important race for us, mile and a half and this is where you have to be strong, and our car had a lot of speed, so that’s very promising. RCR as a whole, I thought we had a lot of speed. Proud of my guys and now we start over with fresh points and just got to be on it every week.”
While it is a significant accomplishment for the Kaulig team to be a part of the 12-driver field, their driver knows they still have an uphill battle ahead. With no stage wins throughout the year, they will enter the playoffs at a disadvantage, seeded 10th and three points under the cutoff for round two.
As far as what he will need to do to succeed, Truex believes they will need to be more consistent.
“We cannot have bad days,” Truex said. “We don’t have playoff points, so we really can’t have bad days, where some of those guys like (Justin) Allgaier and (Christopher) Bell can afford to with playoff points to lean on. Just got to be consistent and manage these races and be there at the end, get stage points and all that good stuff so we can make it out of the first round.”
Looking ahead, the opening round on the schedule may favor the New Jersey native.
His No. 11 team found success at Richmond in April, where they qualified sixth and finished seventh. The unit has also shown signs of speed at road courses, starting seventh or better at each of the three races, and scored their lone top-five at Mid-Ohio.
The potential is there for Truex to turn what has already been a solid first full-season in XFINITY into a great one.
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