Atlanta Race Report
3rd Martin Truex Jr.
10th Brian Vickers
39th Clint Bowyer
2nd Clint Bowyer
13th Martin Truex Jr.
No. 55 is 18th in owner points.
Martin Truex Jr. Race Summary: No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished third in Sunday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver qualified seventh and raced with a cast on his right wrist after suffering a scaphoid fracture and sprain during last week’s race at Bristol. In the first half of the 325-lap event, the NAPA driver battled a tight-handling Toyota and a lack of front grip. A series of adjustments kept Truex running well within the top 10. The NAPA KNOW HOW team rallied back from a lug nut stuck in the lug nut guard at lap 210 to drive from 18th to 10th during a long-green flag sequence. On the final restart with 21 laps to go, Truex climbed to second and battled Kyle Busch for the lead before falling back to third. Truex is 13th in the point standings and holds the second wild card position with one race remaining before the start of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup. The NAPA team returns to action Saturday at Richmond International Raceway.
• Started seventh and finished third
• Ran as high as third and as low as 18th after an extra stop under caution for lug nut issue
• Battled Kyle Busch for the lead in the closing laps of the race before finishing third.
• Truex is 13th in points and holds the second wild card position in the Chase.
TRUEX: “It was a good battle, that’s for sure. We really needed to win this thing to be honest with you. I really wanted to win it. As bad as my wrist was hurting and as bad as the car was for a lot of the race, I was pretty excited there at the end and felt like I was giving it more than I maybe could have or had before. Just came up a little bit short. Had a great restart there on Kyle (Busch) and almost had him cleared. We were just too tight all night long. Going to the rear with 100 (laps) to go was a pretty large kick in the pants and just had to fight hard to get back to the front. I was surprised we made it there, I really didn’t think we could. The car wasn’t very good at that point. Chad (Johnston, crew chief) mad a few adjustments to it and we just kept our head down and kept digging and had some good restarts and was able to make it up there -- just didn’t have quite enough at the end to get by Kyle (Busch). Even if we could have cleared him, I’m not sure I could have held him off. The car got really tight at the end again. A good night. It could always be better. It could always be worse too. Proud that we were able to fight through it tonight. I was in pretty large amounts of pain there tonight. So, glad it’s over with.”
Brian Vickers Race Summary: No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Brian Vickers finished 10th in Sunday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started at the back of the field after a Friday engine change, but quickly showed he had one of the fastest cars on the track. He drove to 19th by the competition caution on lap 25 and climbed to 13th by lap 81. Throughout the race the No. 55 ran as fast as the leaders on long runs but struggled on the short runs. The Aaron’s crew gave up track position twice to make some major chassis changes to get to the front of the field. He climbed to 13th on a restart with 33 laps remaining but spun through the front stretch grass falling to 17th. After a new set of tires, Vickers returned to the race driving through the field to finish 10th. Vickers owns nine top-10 finishes with MWR. Vickers and the Aaron’s Dream Machine return to action Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.
• Qualified 22nd and finished 10th.
• Friday’s engine change after inspection forced Vickers to start at the back of the field.
• Raced to 19th by lap 25 competition caution.
• No. 55 was as fast as the leaders on long green flag runs.
• Crew worked on short runs throughout race
• Survived a spin without damage with 33 laps remaining.
• Charged from back of the field in closing laps to finish 10th
VICKERS: “Yeah, it was hard earned by everyone. These guys did a good job. We were experimenting in practice with some setups and, man, we were so close to getting it figured out and I think if we would have we would have crushed them tonight. But we couldn’t quite get it to work in time and we ended up kind of throwing the kitchen sink at it last night and because of that the guys did a great job. We had a few things to adjust on the car, but we got a lot better and we finally got us where we were getting track position and then we got caught in the middle down there and spun, got loose, but the guys got it fixed and we go back out there and still got a top-10.”
Clint Bowyer Race Summary: No. 15 RK Motors Toyota Camry driver Clint Bowyer finished 39th in Sunday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started 12th and didn’t wait long to show he had the best car on the track taking over the lead on lap 140. Bowyer built a several second lead logging more than 40 laps at the front of the field. He held an eight-second lead on lap 163 and coupled with Jimmie Johnson’s issues appeared ready to take over the point lead at the end of the race. But an engine issue forced Bowyer to the garage ending his night with a 39th-place finish. The No. 15 remains second to Johnson trailing him by 28 points. Bowyer returns to action Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.
• Started 12th finished 39th
• Led 47 laps.
• Midway through race, with Jimmie Johnson’s problems, it appeared Bowyer would take over point lead.
• Led race by eight seconds on lap 163 when engine problems sent No. 15 to garage.
• Trails Johnson by 28 points with only Richmond left before start of 2013 Chase.
BOWYER: “You know, it’s part of it. I mean everybody has engine issues. We’re pushing hard for the Chase to try to win a championship -- certainly on the engine category, with our chassis, everything. Real proud of (Brian) Pattie (crew chief) and all the gang. We were off a little bit. I think we were probably a sixth or fifth-place car yesterday. I told them all to make some adjustments and go for a win. And as soon as the track got going into the night there we gained some grip and our car really took off. It was ours to lose and unfortunately we found a way to lose. I’m going to have a beer.”
Are you disappointed after the engine issue? “Yeah, that was a super big bummer right there. Man, our RK Toyota was so fast. Why did it have to happen this weekend? That’s the biggest thing. It’s part of motorsports. Everybody at TRD -- it’s been a rough weekend -- they do such a great job. There’s a reason we’re up front -- it’s because they’re building big horsepower pushing for the Chase and trying to learn as much as we can for the Chase. We learned a lot with this car -- it was off a little bit in practice and real proud of (Brian) Pattie (crew chief) for making some adjustments there and getting me where I need to be. This -- it’s a shame.”
• Kyle Busch edged Joey Logano by seconds for victory.
• Truex, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman rounded out the top five.
• Nine cautions slowed the race for 47 laps.
• The race lasted three hours and 42 minutes.
• Race featured 28 lead changes among 13 drivers.
NAME: Brian Vickers
HOMETOWN: Thomasville, NC
RESIDENCE: Miami & NYC
NAME: Clint Bowyer
HOMETOWN: Emporia, KS
RESIDENCE: Clemmons, NC
NAME: Martin Truex Jr.
HOMETOWN: Mayetta, NJ
RESIDENCE: Mooresville, NC