Ryan Truex captured second place in Saturday’s Xfinity Series iK9 Service Dog 200 at ISM Raceway, tying his series career best finish.
It was Truex’s debut in the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet and his first Xfinity Series start this season. He had a strong showing this weekend, making it to the final round of qualifying to start ninth.
It was an encouraging beginning for the 26-year-old who has struggled to find a top-tier team where he could showcase his talent. In 2018, his first full season in the series, Truex made it through to the Playoffs with Kaulig Racing and finished 12th in the year end standings. But, the two-time K&N Pro Series East champion found himself out of a ride when the team replaced him with Justin Haley for the 2019 season.
Truex took a gamble this year, opting to run a part-time schedule with JR Motorsports rather than opt for a possible full time ride with a less proven team. The down side is that he will have to share driving duties in the No. 8 with Ryan Preece, Jeb Burton, Spencer Gallagher and Zane Smith. His next scheduled race will be at Kentucky Speedway on June 12.
However, it looks as though the gamble is already paying off.
As Truex said regarding his second place finish, “I guess it’s good when you lose to Kyle Busch.”
He also talked about the challenges of racing a part-time schedule.
“Felt good (to get back out there.) I kind of spent the first stage learning. It’s been a while since I’ve been in one of these cars. Well, not a while but it feels like a while. “Took a little bit to get my bearings and we were behind the 8-ball taking off and we were pretty free,” Truex explained. “I’m just proud of the team for being as young of a team as it is and Taylor (Moyer) being a first-time crew chief in these cars to make the right adjustments and we got the right restarts and in the right lanes and the car was just badass.”
But more than anything else, Truex feels like his talent has been validated.
“It’s one thing to say you can do it. It’s one thing for everybody to think you can do it. But to go out and prove it feels really good.”
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