HEIGHT: 5'11 WEIGHT: 180 lbs
HOMETOWN: Mayetta, NJ
RESIDENCE: Mooresville, NC
RANK: 6 POINTS: 728
MARTIN TRUEX JR: NO. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS TOYOTA DRIVER
Martin Truex Jr.’s path to NASCAR started with countless hours riding the waves of the Atlantic Ocean in his youth, 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 is a notable achievement, but it’s just a start for Truex. With one Sprint Cup trophy on the mantel from his 2007 Dover victory, Truex plans to earn many more in 2012 as he embarks on his third season driving the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry.
He demonstrated speed in 2011, winning the pole at Dover and leading 153 laps. He closed the season with four top-10 finishes in the final five races including a third-place finish in the Homestead-Miami Speedway finale.
Truex continues to make his mark beyond the track. He’ll once again play a key role in launching a new phase of the NAPA KNOW HOW marketing campaign along with participating in his weekly Sirius Speedway and monthly Bob and Tom radio segments. In 2012, the driver stars in several fan-oriented commercials scheduled to air on national television as well as NASCAR race broadcasts.
The 31-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 four years, the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation has raised more than $750,000 for community programs and initiatives such as the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina’s Backpack Program and building the Martin Truex Jr. Pediatric Unit at Southern Ocean County Hospital in N.J. 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.
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