HEIGHT: 5'11 WEIGHT: 180 lbs
HOMETOWN: Mayetta, NJ
RESIDENCE: Mooresville, NC
RANK: 15 POINTS:
MARTIN TRUEX JR: NO. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS TOYOTA DRIVER
Martin Truex Jr.’s path to NASCAR started in his youth riding the waves of the Atlantic Ocean hoisting nets full of clams for his father’s family-owned seafood business in Mayetta, N.J.
The money earned working for his dad, who also owns a pretty impressive racing resume, allowed the younger Truex to polish his skills as a driver in the go-karts and Northeastern modifieds. Success led to the NASCAR world where he won back-to-back Nationwide Series championships and earned a full-time ride in the Sprint Cup Series.
Carving out a role as an established driver in the highest form of stock car racing in the world has certainly paid off. Truex enters the 2013 season driving Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota with as much momentum as any driver.
In 2012, Martin Truex Jr. earned Michael Waltrip Racing and NAPA their first berths in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. His 11th-place finish in the standings included 434 laps led in competition, the most of any MWR driver, seven top-five finishes and a pole at Texas Motor Speedway.
This season, Truex plans to keep the momentum going with teammates Clint Bowyer, Mark Martin, Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip that will help keep Michael Waltrip Racing in contention for its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
He’ll also continue to make his mark beyond the track by playing a key role in promoting the NAPA Know How marketing campaign, participating in his weekly Sirius Speedway radio segment and starring in new fan-oriented commercials airing on national television as well as NASCAR race broadcasts.
The 32-year-old also hasn’t moved far away from his down-to-earth roots, as giving back to the community is a huge priority in his life. In just five years, the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation has raised more than $1 million for community programs and initiatives such as the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina’s Backpack Program, creating a special needs fund for children and their families at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., constructing the Martin Truex Jr. Pediatric Unit at Southern Ocean County Hospital in N.J. and rebuilding his home state in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Like his victory totals, Truex plans to increase those numbers in the coming years.
Truex started racing at age 11 when he climbed behind the wheel of a go-kart. The next seven years saw several victories and championships at New Egypt Speedway in N.J. Like his father, the 18-year-old raced a modified at Wall Stadium Speedway, even winning the prestigious Wall Stadium Turkey Derby, a race Martin Sr. won years earlier.
He then caught the attention of the NASCAR world including Dale Earnhardt Jr. who was looking for a driver for the Chance 2 Nationwide team he operated jointly with DEI. Truex drove a handful of races for Chance 2 in 2003 before racing fulltime in 2004. That year he won six races and seven poles en route to his first Nationwide championship.
He defended his championship in 2005 by visiting victory lane six times and winning three poles. Truex moved to the Sprint Cup series in 2006, driving DEI’s No. 1 car and recording two top-five finishes to earn 19th place in the point standings.
In 2007, Truex won the Sprint Showdown in May then just weeks later won the Dover race seven seconds ahead of the second-place car. In November, he posted the quickest time at Texas Motor Speedway for his first pole award. In addition, he went on to qualify and finish 11th in the Chase championship point standings with a win, seven top-five and 14 top-10 finishes.
In 2008, he earned three top-five and 11 top-10 finishes finishing 15th in the standings. The 2009 season saw Truex finish six times in the top 10 and finish 23rd in points.
Truex was one of the sport’s most sought after drivers in 2009 when NAPA AUTO PARTS chose him as Michael Waltrip’s successor. The announcement was made in July before a live television audience and a packed house of media, sponsors, employees and fans at MWR. By season’s end, the 29-year-old driver finished 23rd in the championship point standings that included three poles, one top-five and six top-10 finishes.
In 2010, he finished out his first full season with Michael Waltrip Racing ranked 22nd in the championship standings. Highlights included contending for victories at the Daytona 500 and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He also won the pole at Dover International Speedway and took home the victory at the Sprint Showdown and nearly backed it up moments later with a runner-up result in the Sprint All-Star race. In total, Truex scored one top-five, seven top-10 and 24 top-20 finishes.
In 2011, Truex contended for a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, ending the season on a strong note with four top-10 finishes in the last five races. His third-place finish in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway helped secure the NAPA team to 18th place in the championship points standings. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver’s year-end stats included a pole at the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on Oct. 2 along with three top-five, 12 top-10 and 24 top-20 finishes.
In 2012, Truex earned one of Michael Waltrip Racing’s two Chase for the Sprint Cup berths – a first in the history of the organization. The driver’s pole at Texas Motor Speedway as well as seven top-five and 19 top-10 finishes capped off his best season in the Cup Series and an 11th-place in the championship standings.
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