DOVER, Del. – Martin Truex Jr. and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team climbed into the top 12 in championship point standings with a 12th-place finish at Dover International Speedway on Sunday. After earning Michael Waltrip Racing its first pole of the 2010 season, Truex and his team ran at the front of the field throughout the 400-lap race to become a Chase contender.
“We should have had a top-10,” said Truex who won his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season on Friday. It was also his fifth of his career. “That one run where we made up a lot of spots was like we had a really good set of tires or something. Our last two runs, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota was generally loose. Regardless, it’s something we could work with.”
“I think the biggest thing that hurt us was the loss of track position when we needed to take four tires and most teams only took two. We couldn’t do that because the trend was tight on two tires. We were already tight. We couldn’t do it.”
In front of an estimated 88,000 fans, Martin Truex Jr. led the field to the green flag, but it was Kasey Kahne who was officially scored in the top spot after lap one. He remained there until a problem during his first pit stop dropped him back into the field. For the NAPA AUTO PARTS team, the No. 56 was running in the top five before the first caution came out. The driver’s biggest issue was his car bounced in the center. It caused the car to push off the corners. Crew chief Pat Tryson ordered up a stop that consisted of air pressure, four fresh tires and fuel. The NAPA Know How Pit Crew completed the service in 12.52 seconds. The fast stop allowed Truex to pick up one position on the track. He restarted in fourth position.
Two more services (laps 133 and 166) were completed to fine tune the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota before the halfway mark. Spring rubber was added to the equation to help loosen up the car. At lap 200, he was scored in 15th place.
Truex notified the team that his car came to life after the NAPA Know How Pit Crew completed its fourth stop of the event. He climbed from 12th to sixth place. Then on lap 245, Sam Hornish Jr. caused the yellow flag to be thrown. Tryson knew the frontrunners would only take two tires, but that wasn’t an option for the NAPA team as two tires caused cars to run on the tight side – a condition already experienced by Truex. The four tire service was very fast -- 11.7 seconds, but the extra two Goodyears caused Truex to restart in 13th position.
The next run saw the NAPA Toyota scored in the 11th position before Kurt Busch lost a tire to bring out the caution on lap 286. In 12.10 seconds a service was completed on lap 288 for a wedge adjustment, four fresh tires and fuel. The quick stop enabled Truex to return to eighth place.
For the remainder of the race, Truex battled a tight then snappy loose off the corner condition. The longer the green flag sequence, the faster he got. As the frontrunners started to pit, Tryson kept his driver out to lead two laps and collect five valuable bonus points. When it was his time to pit, the NAPA Know How Pit Crew went back to work to make a track bar and air pressure adjustment. The service was completed in 12.8 seconds. The NAPA Toyota returned to the track in 12th and was within striking distance of a top-10 finish. Unfortunately Truex ran out of laps before catching Jeff Gordon and Joey Logano who were well within Truex’s sight. The NAPA driver crossed the finish line in 12th position. The top-15 finish moved the NAPA team to 12th place making Truex a Chase contender.
Martin Truex, Jr., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota
David Reutimann Race Summary: No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver David Reutimann continued his string of impressive performances in the 2010 season posting a fifth-place finish Sunday at Dover International Speedway. The Rodney Childers-led team excelled on long green flag runs and turned in quick pit stops throughout the race moving the team to 20th in the point standings. The Sprint Cup Series returns to action Saturday night in the Sprint All-Star race.
David Reutimann, No. 00 TUMS Toyota