CONCORD, N.C. – No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished 26th in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started 14th, but went down a lap before the halfway mark due to handling issues. Just past the halfway mark, Truex's Toyota sustained major damage when he was hit from behind while attempting to avoid a spinning car. The NAPA Know How team worked on pit road to make major repairs keeping Truex in the race but down several laps.
"We were hoping to keep our streak of top-10s going, but we struggled in the early stages," said Truex. "We lost a lap and were hoping to race our way back onto the lead lap. We had a chance until we got involved in a wreck. It wiped out our chance to get a decent finish. It's frustrating. This is a real disappointment for us because we had made up some ground in the points over the last few weeks. Now we lost some. We'll keep digging and go to Kansas."
Under sunny skies the green flag dropped and the NAPA Toyota settled in for 400 laps of racing. Truex battled a loose on entry condition as he drove as high as 12th during the first green-flag segment. The first chance to fine tune the No. 56 came on lap 42. Crew chief Pat Tryson ordered small air pressure and track bar changes.
At lap 100, Truex pitted under caution in 23rd position. His NAPA Toyota handled tight through the corners. The NAPA Know How crew went to work to make air pressure adjustments, change four tires and add fuel. The No. 56 maintained the 23rd spot when the race returned to green on lap 103.
Shortly after pitting on lap 146, Truex lost a lap to leader Matt Kenseth. Tryson opted for a spring rubber addition when the debris caution flew on lap 173 to help loosen up the NAPA Toyota. Then less than 10 laps later, Jamie McMurray lost a motor. The No. 56 stayed out as it remained within striking distance of racing back onto the lead lap.
Then on lap 225, Tryson called his driver onto pit road under green. The NAPA Know How pit crew made wedge and air pressure changes to continue to loosen up the car. Unfortunately the caution flag flew on lap 232. Due to the pitting sequence, Truex went down another lap to race in 29th.
Tryson chose to keep his driver out to take the green flag and the wave around on lap 237. But three laps later, the NAPA Toyota spun after getting hit from behind by another car. The NAPA Toyota sustained damage to the rear of the car. The crew made repairs on laps 241 and 243. Truex returned to the track in 31st.
For the remaining 150 laps, the NAPA team persevered to score 26th place.
Winning the Coca-Cola 600 with enough fuel to cross the finish line was Kevin Harvick. Rounding out the top-five finishers were David Ragan, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and AJ Allmendinger.
Truex is 21st in the driver standings -- 53 points out of the top 10. Next Sunday, Truex and the NAPA KNOW HOW crew will compete at the Kansas Speedway.