BROOKLYN, Mich. – Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS team overcame a number of obstacles before catching a timely caution in the closing laps Sunday to salvage a 17th-place finish at Michigan International Speedway.
Truex is now 16th in points.
“What a way to recover and survive,” exclaimed Truex after the race.
Truex started 13th, but struggled to find grip early and fell to 25th by lap 20. The “NAPA Know How” pit crew picked up seven spots during the lap 49 pit stops.
Truex raced in 25th position at the halfway point then pitted on lap 139. Five laps later he returned to pit lane because of a loose lug nut. The extra stop dropped him to 31st.
“We got behind and lost a lap when a tire was left loose and had to come in and pit again under green. I wasn't going to get on my guys because they have done a great job for me all season.”
By lap 160 his lap times were the same as the leader.
With less than 25 laps remaining and down a lap, Crew Chief Pat Tryson kept Truex on the track hoping for a caution. That came with 19 laps remaining when NASCAR spotted debris on the backstretch. The caution allowed the No. 56 to come to pit road for adjustments and return to the lead lap in 18th-place.
Truex gained a spot over the final 16 laps to finish 17th.
Truex said he had mixed feelings after the race.
“I thought we were going to be better today because we had good practices Saturday. I could have spun out at least 100 times, but we just stayed smart. By halfway we were a lot better. We were tight in traffic but really good in clean air. That made it tough on restarts because I had chances to pass, but (the car) just plowed in traffic.”
The team took several positives from the race.
“We just need to keep getting better because the opportunity is there for us,” Truex said. “I think we got ourselves some points and I am real proud of all my guys for hanging in there and rallying together for a respectable finish.”
Denny Hamlin won for the second consecutive week and the fifth time in 2010. Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart rounded out the top-five. The race lasted two hours thirty-three minutes in front of an estimated crowd of 95,000. The race featured 18 lead changes among nine drivers. Four cautions slowed the race for 14 laps.
Truex Jr. and the Michael Waltrip Racing team next travel to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California to run on Father’s Day, June 20th.
Starting today and continuing every Monday, NAPA Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. will join Dave Moody at 3:40 p.m. for Sirius Satellite Radio’s popular afternoon show – "Sirius Speedway". Every Monday they’ll discuss the latest in NASCAR news, recap the race and preview the next stop on the circuit.
Sirius Speedway can be heard on Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 128.