Phoenix Race Report
· Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA Filters Toyota - finished seventh - tied for sixth in points.
· Mark Martin, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota - finished ninth - tied for sixth in points.
· Clint Bowyer, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota - finished 30th - 17th in points.
Martin Truex Jr. Race Summary: No. 56 NAPA Filters Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished seventh in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver took the lead for 10 laps about the 200-lap mark when he stayed on the track during a long green-flag run while others pitted. Truex took the lead for another 19 consecutive at the lap 230 mark when others pitted. The No. 56 used good strategy but was also very fast. Truex restarted 16th with 50 laps to go and raced his way to seventh by the checked flag. The seventh-place finish moves Truex and the No. 56 team into sixth place in the standings after the first two races. The NAPA AUTO PARTS team returns to action Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
· Started 25th and finished seventh
· Stretched a fuel run and led for 10 laps near the 200-lap mark.
· Led 19 consecutive laps after staying on track during pit cycle at the lap 230 mark.
· Restarted 16th after pitting for fuel and tires with 50 laps to go
· Moved from 16th to seventh over the final 50 laps to record first top-10 of the year.
TRUEX QUOTE: “It was a good day for our NAPA Filters Toyota. We fought track position all day long. Finally at the end we had a little bit better tires than some of the guys and knew we could make it on fuel and were able to go the distance there, so that helped a little bit. We were just really fast at the end on new tires. We were able to get the lead and with no tires and 20-lap tires were able to check out and leave them. It’s just a shame we had to pit. I’m not sure how those guys made it -- there's no way we could have made it from there. We’ll work on that. I’m really pleased with the team and the car. We fought hard all day and got us a good finish.”
Mark Martin Race Summary: No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Mark Martin finished ninth in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started on the pole for the 52nd time in his career. He led the first lap and never ventured far outside the top 10 in the early going then climbing as high as second at the halfway mark. Martin ran in the top three throughout the second half of the race. Martin restarted 14th after a pit stop for fuel and tires with 50 laps to go and raced his way to a ninth-place finish - his second consecutive top-10 finish to start his tenure at Michael Waltrip Racing. The Aaron’s Dream Machine returns to action Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
· Won the 52nd pole of his career and the eighth pole for Michael Waltrip Racing. His first pole came in 1981.
· Led first lap and stayed in the top 10 throughout the race climbing as high as second at the halfway mark.
· Spent second half of the race in top three repeatedly turning the fastest laps on the track.
· Restarted 14th after pitting for fuel and tires with 50 laps to go
· Moved from 14th to ninth over the final 50 laps to record his second consecutive top-10.
MARTIN QUOTE: “Proud of the effort and any time you get a top-10 with this group of guys, you have to say it’s a reasonable run. We had a little more than that, maybe not quite enough to win, but definitely a shot at a top-five. I’m excited for what we have here at MWR and what’s coming up. This is going to be a lot of fun.”
Clint Bowyer Race Summary: No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer finished 30th in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver endured terrible luck in the early going when he hit the wall on lap 15 and lap 25 because of cut tires. Bowyer fell down about five laps to the leaders and spent the remainder of the race trying to recapture the lost laps. His lap times were as good as any of the leaders, but couldn’t contend because of the early trouble. The 5-hour ENERGY team returns to action Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
· Started 16th and 30th
· Bowyer brought out the race’s first caution when he cut a tire on lap 15 and hit the wall.
· Another flat tire on lap 25 also sent Bowyer in the wall dropping him about five laps behind leader.
· Spent rest of the race trying to recapture lost laps.
BOWYER QUOTE: “I thought we were in for a good strong run today and unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. We had some issues early on that caused cut tires to start the race and that really put us in a tough spot a bunch of laps down. We tried like crazy to get the laps back, but it’s tough when you fall that far back. I think the most frustrating thing is that we had a great 5-hour ENERGY Toyota and turned some really fast lap times, but we just couldn’t gain any ground. Today is one of those days where you take what you can get, try to put it behind you as fast as you can and start fresh next week in Vegas.”
· Denny Hamlin edged Kevin Harvick by 7.31 seconds for the victory.
· Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five
· Seven cautions slowed the race for 35 laps.
· The race featured 25 lead changes among 15 drivers.
· NASCAR estimated a crowd of 76,000 fans.
NAME: Clint Bowyer
HOMETOWN: Emporia, KS
RESIDENCE: Clemmons, NC
NAME: Mark Martin
HOMETOWN: Batesville, AR
RESIDENCE: Daytona Beach, FL
NAME: Martin Truex Jr.
HOMETOWN: Mayetta, NJ
RESIDENCE: Mooresville, NC