Pocono Race Report
· No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished third and is now fifth in points.
· No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer finished eighth and is now tenth in points.
· No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Mark Martin finished 12th and is now 13th in owner points.
Martin Truex Jr. Race Summary: No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished third in Sunday’s rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway. Truex started 15th and broke into the top 10 at lap 60. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver kept up a top-five pace as the threatening weather closed in on the Pennsylvania track. Truex’s day nearly turned sour when he barely avoided a multicar accident on the lap 90 restart. As he dodged the spinning cars of leaders Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, Truex moved to third place. As the cars ran under caution, torrential rain forced NASCAR to halt the race on lap 98 of the scheduled 160. The result moves Truex to fifth-place in points and he holds a 72-point cushion on 11th place – for the tenth and final Chase points berth. The NAPA AUTO PARTS team competes in the final road-course event of the season on Sunday at Watkins Glen International.
· Started 15th and finished third
· Battled a tight handling car throughout race.
· Raced as high as third and low as 18th.
· Owns five top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 2012.
TRUEX: "It was good race for my NAPA Toyota. We had a pretty good car all weekend along. We didn't have the greatest qualifying run yesterday and that kind of hurt. Once we got going out there, the last couple runs of the race, we were the fastest car on the track. The car was really, really good today. Obviously we got a little bit lucky there. Before that, we'd been catching a lot of those guys that wrecked. I was really, really hoping for a shot at the restart there being second -- would have been second because the 5 (Kasey Kahne) had a flat. He was going to have to pit. We were really fast at the end. All in all, a great day for the NAPA team. Chad (Johnston, crew chief) and the guys did a great job. Sitting there running eighth or ninth and really fast with a really good car today. Good day for us. Got to thank all the guys at TRD bringing us new engines the last couple weeks. It was a good, fun race out there and a good finish."
Was it inevitable that last restart was going to be crazy given everybody was watching the radar? "For sure, yeah. The big thing is nobody took tires. We were all trying to save fuel because we knew the rain was coming. A lot of guys had stuff all over their tires. Everybody was throwing rubber off their tires trying to get them cleaned up before we took the restart. So, all that stuff combined into those guys going off into (turn) one, all of them looked like they took off up the track. Fortunately, I was the third guy that didn't slide. The 24 (Jeff Gordon), 5 (Kasey Kahne), and me, we all went down in there and stuck. It's just one of those deals where you're just trying to save fuel and you don't have a lot of time to get the tires cleaned up."
Where is your team with five races left before the Chase? "I'm proud of the team, for what we've done and what we've accomplished. This is a big deal for us. To be wherever we're at, we're in pretty good shape. To have Clint (Bowyer) in there, to have Mark (Martin) and Brian (Vickers) and Michael (Waltrip) all doing what they've done in the 55, it's been an awesome team effort all year. It's been a pleasure to work with those guys. Everybody at the company has just done a phenomenal job getting our cars better. I mentioned TRD earlier. They've been such a huge part of this for us, getting our cars better, our engines better. All that stuff really goes into it. You can't do this without good equipment, good people. Got to thank Michael (Waltrip) and Rob (Kauffman) for what they've done to allow us to get to this point. Clint and Mark have been awesome teammates all year long. I feel like we're in a good place. We had great speed today. We had good speed last week. We're still not exactly where we'd like to be. We'd like to get in victory lane. I felt like if we could have had a shot at the restart today, we might have had a shot at it. We were very fast at the end. We're just going to keep pushing forward, keep digging, hopefully get a win before the Chase starts, and hopefully we can make some noise once it does start."
Clint Bowyer Race Summary: No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer finished eighth in Sunday’s rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started 19th and climbed to 13th by lap 18. Bowyer moved into the top 10 by lap 34 and appeared to be one of the fastest cars on the track. Bowyer restarted race in 12th on lap 91 and barely missed a multicar accident in turn one. He moved up to eighth but the torrential rain that fell on the Pennsylvania track ended the race on lap 98 of the scheduled 160. Bowyer remains 10th in points with a 57 point cushion over 11th place with five races remaining before the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to action on Sunday at Watkins Glen International Raceway for the second and final road course race of 2012. Bowyer won the Sonoma race in the season’s only other road course race.
· Started 19th and finished eighth.
· Climbed to 13th by lap 18.
· Raced in top 10 by lap 34.
· Barely missed the multicar accident on the lap 91 restart.
BOWYER: "We'll take it. I wish we could have had a couple more laps because I know we would have gained a few extra spots but big picture an eighth place day isn't going to hurt us too bad. The 5-hour ENERGY Toyota was good and we were making up ground, but with only a handful of races left until the cutoff we'll take the points and head to Watkins Glen."
Mark Martin Race Summary: No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Mark Martin finished 12th in Sunday’s rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started 18th and began climbing through the field. The Aaron’s crew put Martin on a fuel strategy different than most of the field leaving him in the top five for some of the race and back in the pack the rest. It led to Martin restarting the race in 15th with four fresh tires while nearly all of the competitors ahead of him were on older tires. But a caution and rain washed away any chance Martin could use the four tires to gain more positions beyond 12th. A multicar accident on lap 91 followed by torrential showers ended the race on lap 98 of the schedule 160. The No. 55 returns to action Sunday at Watkins Glen International with Brian Vickers behind the wheel on the New York road course. Martin returns to the No. 55 on Aug.19 at Michigan International Speedway.
· Started 18th and finished 12th.
· Used different pit strategy than rest of the field.
· Appeared set up for a great finish restarting race in 15th with four fresh tires on lap 91.
· Multicar accident on lap 91 followed by torrential rain permitted Martin to climb only to 12th.
MARTIN: “Oh man I wish we could have restarted that race. The Aaron's Dream Machine was on four fresh tires and we had a fast car. I know we could have passed a lot of cars. A 12th place finish isn’t too bad. I’m real proud of my crew today they did a great job and gave me a great car. We were right where we wanted to be, but we can’t control the rain.”
· Jeff Gordon won the race.
· Kasey Kahne, Truex, Brad Keselowski, and Tony Stewart rounded out the top-five finishers.
· The race took one hour and 45 minutes.
· Rain delayed the race about two hours and ended the race on lap 98 of scheduled 160.
· The race featured 13 lead changes among 10 drivers.
· Three cautions slowed the race for 14 laps.
· NASCAR estimated the attendance at 85,000.
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