Martin Truex Jr. Budweiser Shootout Recap Video (via Michael Waltrip Racing)
CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished 12th in Monday's rain-delayed and fire-delayed Daytona 500. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver looked strong from the start before putting on a mid-race charge to claim the $200,000 bonus for the lap 100 leader. Truex led eight laps during the race and appeared to be one of the fastest cars on the track. With 40 laps remaining, Juan Montoya's collision with a track jet drier caused a tremendous fire stopping the race for more than two hours. There were no injuries. The race resumed with Truex continuing to mix it up with the leaders. In the green-white-checkered finish, Truex pushed MWR teammate Mark Martin to the front but the duo couldn't hold off the cars on the lower lane. The NAPA AUTO PARTS team returns to action Sunday on the fast mile-oval at Phoenix International Raceway.
"I pushed as hard as I could and I just couldn't go anywhere at the end," said Truex after climbing out of his NAPA Toyota shortly before 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday. "We had a good NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. We started to run hot there in the end and that was about it for the race when it came to any real challenges with our car. Chad and the guys did a great job to improve our Toyota since the Duels. We led laps and at halfway for the bonus. We just didn't lead at the end. Good day all and all for the entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization."
Shortly after 7 p.m. on Monday, the Daytona 500 got underway. The NAPA Toyota dodged a six-car crash on lap two taking out five-time champion Jimmie Johnson. Then eleven circuits later, Ryan Newman spun to bring out another yellow flag. Crew chief Chad Johnston called for a fuel-only service on lap 14. Truex lined up in 14th position.
The NAPA Toyota broke into the top 10 on lap 21. Truex had no complaints with his Toyota's handling. He drafted with teammate Clint Bowyer as planned. The team's first green-flag stop happened on lap 57 for fuel and four fresh tires. Truex returned to the track in fourth place.
The next green-flag run saw the NAPA Toyota drafting with teammate Mark Martin. The duo raced comfortably in the top 10. The only real threat was a slow moving front consisting of rain. Then on lap 77, the NAPA Toyota drove into the lead and held it for five circuits.
The race slowed once again slowed on lap 81 after Jeff Gordon dropped an engine. Truex led the field onto pit road for a fuel-only service. He returned to the track in fourth place and in line with Bowyer. But just four circuits later, the caution came out causing a close call for Truex. He dove up high and made it through. He lined up third for the restart and raced into second by lap 94.
Then at halfway with the help of Denny Hamlin, the NAPA Toyota took home the $200,000 bonus for leading. He ducked down one lap later to settle into second.
Unfortunately the yellow flag dropped after Bowyer's fuel tank ran dry on lap 128. The NAPA KNOW HOW pit crew changed four tires and added fuel. The NAPA Toyota lined up seventh and once again paired up with Hamlin to make another run at the top spot.
With 50 laps to go, Truex drove in the top 15 after the low line he drafted in had a competitor bobble. It slowed the NAPA Toyota costing track position. Truex remained focused and poised before another service under caution happened on lap 158. The NAPA KNOW HOW pit crew changed two right-side tires and added fuel. The fast service allowed Truex to gain five positions on the track to line up 14th. But during the same caution, the No. 42 car hit a safety truck rupturing the fuel tank and igniting the jet fuel inside. It ignited a spectacular fire and caused the race to be red flagged on lap 160 for over two hours. Fortunately no one was hurt in the incident.
Once NASCAR ordered the drivers to restart their cars, it was back to business with a 40-lap shootout. Truex maintained a solid pace and avoided three multi-car accidents on laps 177, 188 and 197.
In the end, a green-white-checkered flag finish determined it all. Truex teamed up with his teammates that resulted in a 10th through 12th finish for Michael Waltrip Racing.