CONCORD, N.C. -- No one told Martin Truex Jr. that not everyone had to pit late in the Coca-Cola 600.
And that probably was a good thing.
"It would have just pissed me off even earlier," Truex said.
Truex led a race-high 131 laps and appeared in position to win the NASCAR Sprint cup Series race Sunday night, but four drivers who had pitted with 62 laps remaining were able to stretch their fuel to finish ahead of Truex, the driver who obviously had the best car late in the race.
Considering Truex saw his winless streak stretch to 68 races, he has to wonder what he needs to do to win a race. Everyone at Furniture Row Racing probably feels the same way, considering the team's only win came in May 2011, when Regan Smith won at Darlington.
"I've kind of felt cursed for a while now," Truex said after he got out of the car. "I feel cursed but at the same time blessed to be here doing what I'm doing. Having an opportunity to run up front like this, I know what it's like to be on the other side of that.
"I don't take that for granted. I've got a lot to be thankful for, and we're going to get us a win soon."
In 2014, Truex was running far from this well as he struggled in his first season with Furniture Row Racing. He managed just five top-10s and finished 24th in the standings. Sitting second in the standings, Truex has 11 top-10s in 12 starts this year.
The car Sunday was the same one Truex had at Kansas, where he led 95 laps. After leading just 32 laps in the first 10 races of the year, he has led 226 laps in the last two points races.
"It's definitely really disappointing because I know how hard it is to get a car that good, how hard it is to put yourself in that position," Truex said. "But at the same time, it feels so good to run like that. This is the same car we had at Kansas and something that guys have been working hard on for a long time."
Truex has a 136-point cushion on 17th and a 79-point cushion on Jamie McMurray, the driver without a victory, so his team should be fine to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He can take a chance for a win without worrying too much about Chase implications.
The thing about Sunday is he didn't know anyone was taking a chance with fuel mileage. He thought when he pitted, all he needed to do was make sure he had passed Denny Hamlin -- his only real challenger late in the race -- and the win would be his.
"I didn't even know anyone could make it," Truex said. "I didn't know there was anything else going on. ... Once I caught him, they told me there was some guys who might make it on gas."
Charlotte traditionally isn't one of his best tracks, and Truex now heads to one of his best tracks. His first career win came at Dover in his 58th career start.
"It feels great, but it hurts so bad," Truex said. "It's a double-edged sword. It feels great to run like that again and I feel like we're going to get one. But I also know how hard it is to be in that position, how hard it is to get race cars like this to put yourself in position to win.
"It's so competitive out here. There's no telling when it's going to be again. It might be next week, and it might be a year from now."
Xfinity: Dash for Cash
Even with the change in sponsor for 2015, the series' "Dash for Cash" bonus plan is back.
The program pays $100,000 to the best finisher among the top four who are eligible for the bonus. The race Saturday at Charlotte set the field for the first race next week at Dover. Regan Smith (finished fourth), Darrell Wallace Jr. (fifth), Daniel Suarez (sixth) and Ty Dillon (seventh) were the best among the drivers who earn points in the series.
The top finisher among those four will earn the $100,000 at Dover. That bonus-winning driver, plus the three top Xfinity regulars at Dover, will be eligible for the bonus in July at Indianapolis. The other two races are Bristol and Darlington.
If the same driver wins the first three bonuses and can capture the race win at Darlington, that driver would get an extra $600,000 to go along with the $400,000 in bonuses from each of the rounds for $1 million.
"Any time you can give the guys running the series full-time a little added incentive -- we already have got a lot of incentive -- [but] you throw a little extra money on the line and certainly nobody is going to argue with that," Smith said.
The series points leader, Chris Buescher, isn't eligible for the bonus after an 11th-place finish at Charlotte. He has a four-point lead on Dillon.
Trucks: A new winner guaranteed
A guaranteed new Dover winner is in store for this week's race.
There have been 15 races at Dover, and no one on the entry list has won. That typically doesn't happen, but Kyle Busch, who has won three of the last four truck races at Dover and four overall, isn't in the field.
There have been 11 other winners at Dover (all having won once): Kurt Busch, Scott Riggs, Ted Musgrave, Jason Leffler, Chad Chaffin, Mark Martin, Ron Hornaday Jr., Scott Speed, Brian Scott, Aric Almirola and Todd Bodine.