BROOKLYN, Mich. – No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished 26th in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started 11th and reported a loose condition in turns 3 and 4 during the first half of the race. Truex went on to persevere and battle for a top-10 spot before a lug nut fell off during a stop on lap 120. Truex's return to pit lane dropped him a lap behind the leaders where he remained the rest of the race.
In the early stages of the Michigan 400, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota handled loose through the corners. By the time the first caution flag waved on lap eight due to a Jimmie Johnson spin, crew chief Chad Johnston called for a track bar and a spring rubber change. Truex returned to the track in 24th position.
Shortly into the next green-flag run, Truex's NAPA Toyota picked up some steam. It allowed him to maneuver back up into 17th place by circuit 20. Not long thereafter, another chance to fine-tune the No. 56 came under caution on lap 27. A change in air pressure occurred to help the car turn better through the corners as it was tight in the center and loose off. The NAPA KNOW HOW crew picked up three positions for the driver to take the restart on lap 30 in 12th position.
The air pressure change was not to Truex's liking as it loosened up the NAPA Toyota too much so during the team's first green-flag stop of the race, another air pressure adjustment took place. The No. 56 raced in 18th as a result. Then on lap 84, the caution came out for Brad Keselowski. Johnston called for wedge and air pressure changes. Another fast stop by the NAPA KNOW HOW crew placed Truex back in 12th place for the restart on lap 88.
At the halfway mark, Truex focused on breaking into the top 10, but a lug nut fell off during the team's stop on lap 120. It forced the No. 56 onto pit road for a second time. It cost the team a lap to run in 31st, but in contention for the Lucky Dog pass. During the green-flag run, the NAPA driver turned laps as fast, if not faster, than the leader Kyle Busch. Unfortunately, the much-needed break Truex needed would not come to fruition resulting in a disappointing 26th-place finish.
Taking the win was Toyota driver Denny Hamlin. Rounding out the top-10 finishers were Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Mark Martin and Brian Vickers.
Truex is 20th in the driver standings 376 points. Truex and the NAPA KNOW HOW team go road-course racing for the first time this season on Sunday at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.