CORNELIUS, N.C. — After seeing good runs at Daytona and Phoenix ruined by mechanical gremlins, No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. was mired in 34th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points. Although still early in the season, Truex’s bid for a second consecutive berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup needed a boost.
The Michael Waltrip Racing driver got that boost in Las Vegas and Bristol finishing eighth and 12th. By scoring the sixth most points of all drivers in those two races, Truex moved from 34th to 18th in points. But don’t call this a comeback.
Truex feels like he’s been at the front of the field all season and will be again Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on the two-mile, D-shaped oval. Truex finished eighth there last year and another strong run could vault him higher in points and return him into prime contention for the Chase berth.
Martin Truex Jr. On First Four Races: “This season has been really interesting. The first two races I had very strong cars, but not much to show for in terms of results. It was unfortunate especially what happened at Phoenix. The last two races, I have had solid finishes and yet, I don’t think those cars were as fast or as competitive as the ones I had in the first two events. As far as the NAPA team goes, the new 2013 NAPA Toyotas we are bringing to the track are competitive. We look like we are in pretty good shape so far. We just need to keep making good decisions and keep trying to get our stuff better. I feel like we still are not exactly where we want to be. I think Michael Waltrip Racing is doing a good job and we are working on even more stuff to make our new 2013 Toyotas even better. We are still learning about these new cars. We learned a lot at Bristol. Things happened that we did not expect as far as how the balance changed during the race. It was a lot different than what’s happened over the last couple of years.”
On This Weekend At Auto Club Speedway: “I think California is going to be a place where we can run well based on how we raced at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I think we are going to see a very competitive race. This new car is going to change some things up. It’s got more downforce and more speed. Auto Club Speedway is already really fast. I expect to see really fast speeds and I think the really good thing about this track is the groove. It is all over the track. It’s going to allow us to put on a great race for the fans. It’s going to allow us to pass a lot. My plan is to keep it simple and just be faster than everyone else. That’s it. How hard can that be?”
• AUTOGRAPHS: Truex will sign autographs at Autograph Alley in the Sprint Cup garage 9:10—9:30 a.m. Sunday.
• MARCH OIL CHANGE SPECIAL: This month at participating NAPA AUTO PARTS stores, fans can take advantage of the $20.99 promotion. They can also receive an instant savings of $3 if they mention hearing or seeing NAPA’s oil change ads on radio or TV. For details visit, napaonline.com.
• INSIDER PROGRAM: Michael Waltrip Racing’s Insider Program offers all race fans sponsor discounts, specials on merchandise, exclusive pictures and video content plus fan giveaways throughout the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Fans can access the MWR Insider Program through the Card Star application available on most smartphones. MWR will work on behalf of the fans to expand the offerings beyond just its current sponsor line-up, aggregating industry-wide deals and discounts. Fans can text MWR to 42828 get card for FREE.
• 4th ANNUAL CATWALK FOR A CAUSE: On May 15 at Michael Waltrip Racing, cheer on the kids from Levine Children’s Hospital as they strut the runway to benefit the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation’s Special Needs Fund at Levine’s! Purchase tickets now at martintruexjrfoundation.org.
NAME: Martin Truex Jr.
HOMETOWN: Mayetta, NJ
RESIDENCE: Mooresville, NC