Martin Truex had a simple goal Wednesday at Park Lanes Family Fun Center: He didn’t want to embarrass himself.
Truex, who currently sits 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points standings, was in town for a promotional event at the Lenexa bowling and sand volleyball center ahead of the Go Bowling 400, which is set for 6:46 p.m. May 7 at Kansas Speedway.
Encircled by a throng of reporters with a dozen cameras rolling, Truex and Kansas Speedway president Pat Warren rolled 10 frames.
Truex, who admitted that he was a “terrible bowler,” shot 100 on the nose.
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“I got 100, so that’s all I wanted,” Truex said as he took a seat and removed his shoes with a sly grin on his face.
Truex is a Sprint Cup rarity. He drives for a single-car team, Furniture Row Racing — a rarity among NASCAR teams, as it’s based in Denver and not the Carolinas.
After a career-best fourth-place finish last season in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Truex’s Furniture Row Racing team switched manufacturers, joining Toyota Racing Development and partnering with Joe Gibbs Racing during the offseason.
“We basically started over,” Truex said.
Everything from engineering requirements, computer and simulation programs, car and engine parts — “really every part and piece of our race cars and how all of our people do their jobs” — changed after the 2015 season.
“But it’s been a pleasure to work with all those folks,” Truex said of Toyota and Gibbs racing. “To see the progress we’ve made so far has really been exciting, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do down the road here.”
Truex, who lives in North Carolina, said his ownership and crew consider Kansas Speedway a home track, because it’s the closest racetrack to Denver.
“It’s cool for, just because it’s been such a good track for me over the years,” Truex said. “I feel like I should have a few wins — not just one, I should have a few wins — at Kansas Speedway. I’m looking forward to going there this year and getting it done.”
Warren would be fine with a Truex breakthrough, calling him a terrific ambassador for NASCAR.
“He said Kansas owes him,” Warren said. “I think that’s how he feels. He’s had success here, but he hasn’t gotten to Victory Lane. Obviously, we really appreciate him being here today.”
Warren’s outfit signed a two-year deal with GoBowling.com in January to sponsor the spring race.
“It’s consistent with our theme, which is family entertainment and a great thing to do with your family,” he said. “... We’re really excited about it. It creates a lot of good cross-marketing opportunities for both of us.”
On the track, another year of aging for the racing surface, which was repaved in 2012, combined with NASCAR’s new lower downforce setup should make for a tremendous race, Warren said.
Off the track, the only major change from last season is that season-ticket holders will receive upgraded parking, but Warren also asked for patience as the new system is implemented for the first time.
“Any time you change anything with parking, it can create an issue, and we don’t have any preseason games to sort of check it out with a lighter crowd,” said Warren, who opened with an 18-pin loss to Truex but rebounded nicely in a second game to roll a 143. “We sort of start at full speed.”