LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Martin Truex Jr. climbed from the 35th-starting spot to finish 20th in Sunday’s Shelby American 500 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Truex, driving the No. 56 NAPAGold Filters Toyota, ran consistently in the top-20, but felt he needed more grip to race with his teammates. The result places Truex 21st in the championship points standings.
“We didn’t have a terrible day,” said Truex who was running the NAPAGold Filters Toyota to help NAPA kick off a month-long promotion. “But it wasn’t great either. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway is by far my toughest track so we’ll just keep working on it. We were just a little off all weekend. We struggled to find grip all day and then I’d get tight in the middle of the corners. My guys kept me up there as they were awesome on pit road.”
The start of the 267-lap event saw Truex patiently work his way up through the field. His NAPAGold Filters Toyota started off loose, but the driver felt he would be competitive. By lap 35, the No. 56 machine was already in the top 25. The chance to work on the car came when the second caution flag was thrown on lap 46. Crew chief Pat Tryson called for track bar and air pressure adjustments. Four tires and fuel were also addressed in less than 13 seconds. The fast stop bolstered Truex’s track position by five spots to take the restart in 19th place on lap 52.
Another yellow flag was thrown on lap 88. Tryson called his driver back in to change the track bar as the NAPAGold Filters Toyota was pushing through the corner. Another quick stop gained the team two positions to take the green on lap 92 in 17th position.
A two-tire change was put into motion on lap 109. Truex was back on track in 16th and searching for groove on the track that had the most grip. Over the course of the run, the driver felt as if his car was balanced better, but still lacked grip. Despite a competitive pace, Jeff Gordon was attacking the field putting Truex down a lap on circuit 171. Tryson encouraged his driver as he remained in the 17th spot.
A green-flag stop was completed on lap 217. Air pressure was the main course of action as Truex believed his car wasn’t as strong as before. Then on lap 228, a caution was thrown and Tryson opted to keep his driver out to race back onto the lead lap. Truex took the restart on lap 233 in 19th position and was racing Denny Hamlin, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman for position. Truex did his best on old tires to cross the finish line in 20th position.
“I am really looking forward to Atlanta,” said Truex after climbing out of his Toyota. “Atlanta is NAPA’s home track and it’s also one of my favorites. I feel confident that we’ll rebound and have a strong run next weekend.”
Winning for the second week in a row was Jimmie Johnson. Rounding out the top-10 finishers were Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle.
Truex’s MWR teammate David Reutimann crossed the finish line in 13th. Meanwhile, MWR’s technical alliance with JTG-Daugherty Racing, Marcos Ambrose finished 14th.
Next week the NAPA team heads to the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Kobalt Tools 500. Broadcast coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET on FOX. It can also be heard on PRN and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
David Reutimann, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota
David Reutimann Race Summary: David Reutimann continued his exciting start to the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season posting a 13th-place finish Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Added to his fifth and 15th-place finishes in the first two races, today’s finish moves the Michael Waltrip Racing driver to ninth in the 2010 points race. The TUMS Toyota never ventured far outside the top 15 throughout the 267-lap race on the 1.5-mile oval. A blazing pace set by the leaders saw Reutimann fall off the lead lap in the final 60 laps of the race. But a timely caution with about 40 laps remaining enabled the Florida native to claim the Aaron’s Lucky Dog and return to the lead lap. Reutimann and the No. 00 return to action Sunday in Atlanta.
David Reutimann, No. 00 TUMS Toyota
· Leader Jeff Gordon lapped Reutimann—who was tenth at the time he was lapped—on lap 211—only ten cars were on the lead lap at that point.
· He earned the Aaron’s Lucky Dog on lap 232.
· The No. 00 pit crew turned the second quickest time of all the cars pitting around the 200-lap mark.
· Sunday marked Reutimann’s 102nd Sprint Cup race. He finished fourth here in 2009.
· David Reutimann and the No. 00 TUMS Toyota were named the Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race
“We just seemed to be off today. There were times we got the TUMS Toyota pretty decent but it seemed like track position was everything. The guys did a great job on pit road. We had some great pit stops. We worked on the car and made it better. We just couldn’t get up to where we needed to be. We’d give up something at the start of a run then gain it back in the end. At the end of the race, we didn’t have the amount of laps we needed to try to put together anything that would have been pretty good so we ended up 13th.” David Reutimann
Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota
Martin Truex Jr. Race Summary: Martin Truex Jr. battled a cooling track and some ultrafast competitors Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway before finishing 20th. Truex started at the back of the field after a mechanical issue hampered his qualifying run on Friday. He climbed into the top 15 but struggled to get his NAPAGold Filters Toyota to handle in the corners. He fell down a lap to the leaders on lap 170. He and Crew Chief Pat Tryson took some big swings to improve the handling throughout the race. Truex is now 21st in points.
Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA Gold Toyota
· Truex and Crew Chief Pat Tryson worked on the No. 56 NAPAGold Filters Toyota’s handling throughout the race.
· Truex battled in the top 15 most of the race but fell down a lap to leader Jeff Gordon on lap 170 while racing in 17th.
· The No. 56 regained lost lap by taking the wave-around pass with about 30 laps remaining and stayed on the lead lap for the duration of the race.
· Pat Tryson told the crew: “If you keep doing that on pit road each week we are going to win some races.”
· Truex said Las Vegas was the toughest track for him while next week’s track in Atlanta is his best.
“It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either. Vegas is by far my toughest track so we’ll just keep working on it. We were just a little off all weekend. We struggled to find grip all day and then I’d get tight in the middle. My guys kept me up there. We were awesome again on pit road. Atlanta is one of my favorite tracks so we’ll rebound for sure.” Martin Truex Jr.
· David Reutimann, No. 00 TUMS Toyota Camry - Finished 13th - now ninth in points.
· Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPAGold Filters Toyota Camry - Finished 20th - now 21st in points.