Time will tell whether Martin Truex Jr. was justified in changing his spotter.
For now, though, he and the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team have some egg on their faces.
Truex, winless in his NASCAR Cup Series career at superspeedways, replaced spotter Clayton Hughes with Drew Herring during the offseason. Prior to Sunday’s Daytona 500, Truex offered reasons for the change.
“I’ve got a list of things I’ve been working on,” he said, via Catchfence. “I brought in a change in spotter this year to try to be better at speedways, which is now … you look at the 550 (horsepower) package, basically speedway racing on restarts for a few laps.
“Things like that, we’ve been working on to get better at. It’s everything. It takes all of that to win these races. They are very difficult to win. We look at every avenue.”
Well, that quote didn’t age very well.
Truex’s implication was that he felt it was necessary to part ways with Hughes in order to improve the No. 19’s performance on superspeedways such as Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. In 64 combined starts at those tracks, Truex has zero wins and just five top-fives.
Of course, Hughes joined Front Row Motorsports during the offseason and wound up guiding Michael McDowell and the No. 34 Ford through a wreck-filled Daytona 500 to victory lane.
At the end of the day, Truex, Herring and the No. 19 have brighter days ahead. But the Daytona 500 results suggest that his former spotter wasn’t to blame for Truex’s superspeedway struggles.