Tire failure puts Martin Truex Jr. in wall, backup car for Sunday

Leave a comment

Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing were forced to go to their backup No. 78 Chevrolet for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 after a tire failure sent the primary car into the wall during this morning’s first Sprint Cup practice at Auto Club Speedway.

“I was still wide-open turning down into the corner [Turn 1] and the left rear came apart – shredded,” Truex told Fox Sports before this afternoon’s Cup final practice. “No warning at all, but the first tire we ran a 12-lap run right off the start of practice and we saw a sign of an issue with the sidewall on that tire, so we put some air in it.

“Goodyear always says you can put some air in it and we went up on air pressure and went out. I think it was on the eighth lap, it came apart. My plan was to not run more than 10 because on 12 the first run, it came apart and I was thinking 10 would be safe because we put air in it. And, we come to find out, it wasn’t.

“I’m not sure what the options are now. We’re gonna put more air in it and try again. There’s nothing else we can do.”

Truex had qualified 12th yesterday for Sunday’s main event in his primary car. The practice incident is the latest in a string of bad luck moments that has marred his first season so far with Furniture Row.

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

3 Comments

With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.

Results are below. The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama rolls off at 3:00 p.m. ET.