Martin Truex Jr. Texas Recap Video (from Michael Waltrip Racing)
FORT WORTH, Texas – -- No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished 35th in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started 31st and quickly picked up the pace to race up to 19th in the first 11 circuits. By the halfway mark, he started running lap times equal to the leader to run just two positions shy of the top 15. Despite a solid run, the team lost a lap after pitting on 201. Truex raced hard and was on the verge of rallying back when he got collected in an accident shortly after the restart on lap 213. For the second week in a row, damage sustained in an accident ended the NAPA KNOW HOW crew's day.
"It's just an unfortunate deal for this NAPA Toyota," said Truex after leaving the Infield Care Center. "We were struggling a little bit tonight. We were running our butts off and were sitting there running 16th and had to make a quick stop under green and lost a lap. We tried to take two tires to overcome it, but once you make one mistake, it just snowballs. That's what happened to us. It's unfortunate. It stinks to have this happen two weeks in a row. We were going to battle to a decent finish tonight. We sure didn't need to be wrecked."
The opening laps of the 500 miler saw Truex work his way up from 31st to 19th in just 11 laps. The NAPA Toyota was free in and off the corners. An engine expired to bring out the first caution so crew chief Pat Tryson ordered a two-tire stop that included more fuel on lap 11. The No. 56 returned to the track in 19th place.
Another chance to fine tune the NAPA Toyota came on lap 47 under yellow. This time the NAPA Know How crew changed four tires and lowered the track bar. The green flag waved on lap 51 with Truex scored in 18th position.
Two more chances to improve the NAPA Toyota happened under green on laps 96 and 115. Wedge and air pressure adjustments helped improve the car's overall performance. Then at the halfway mark, Truex raced in 18th. The longer the run, the better his NAPA Toyota performed.
Truex broke into the top 15 when green flag pit stops started. Tryson called Truex in on lap 163 for wedge, four tires and fuel. When the pit sequence was completed, the NAPA Toyota remained in position to gain more spots. But shortly after the team pitted on lap 201, Truex lost a lap to the leader Matt Kenseth.
Despite the deficit, the NAPA Toyota remained fast. When a debris caution came on lap 208, Tryson brought Truex down pit road for two fresh tires and fuel. He returned to the track in 19th position when the race restarted on lap 213, but just two laps into the green-flag run, Truex was involved in a race-ending crash.
"The 2 (Brad Keselowski) checked up in front of me," described Truex. "I checked up and got hit from behind. It's just an unfortunate racing situation. You make mistakes. You get back there and you get desperate. You take two tires and things like that. You just get yourself in trouble."
Matt Kenseth won the race. It was his first victory in 77 events. Rounding out the top 10 was Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Paul Menard, Marcos Ambrose, David Ragan, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kurt Busch.
Truex and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team are now 21st in the championship standings - 53 points out of the top 10. Next Sunday the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competes at the Talladega Superspeedway.