Martin Truex Jr. Martinsville Recap Video (via Michael Waltrip Racing)
Martin Truex Jr. Martinsville Recap
CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished fifth in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.
“This feels great,” smiled Truex who has earned the most top-10 finishes of any driver so far this season. “We backed into that one a little bit with those guys getting tangled up. Our NAPA Toyota was sixth to 10th place most of the day. We were fast on the short runs and struggled on the long runs to keep the right-rear tire under the car. We worked on it all day long and Chad (Johnston, crew chief) did a good job working on it. The pit crew was good and we fought hard all day and that’s what it takes. This is probably my worst race track and to come out of here with a fifth-place finish. I’m pretty proud of that.”
The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started 13th and worked for much of the 515-lap race to improve the No. 56’s handling during long green-flag runs. Truex raced in the top-10 for most of the event that saw several stops where the NAPA KNOW HOW pit crew completed wedge and track bar adjustments.
The Goody’s Fast Relief 500 went into overtime when former Michael Waltrip Racing driver David Reutimann lost power on lap 496 to bring out the sixth yellow flag of the race. Johnston called his driver in for one final service for track bar changes, two fresh tires and more fuel. The fast stop enabled Truex to pick up one spot to take the restart on lap 503 in 10th place.
When the green flag dropped, Truex’s teammate Clint Bowyer dove on the inside of Turn 1 to challenge for the lead. Unfortunately, he and Jimmie Johnson spun out to bring out the caution. The NAPA Toyota lined up in fifth position, but then Jeff Gordon experienced an issue on the backstretch. It allowed Truex to move up to the fourth position on the restart.
The second green-white-checkered flag finish went off without a hitch. The NAPA Toyota kept up a competitive pace to collect the team’s second top-five finish and fourth top-10 of the season.
The solid result moves Truex into a four-way tie for third place with 214 points in the championship standings – 12 markers out of the lead.
Meanwhile, Ryan Newman won Sunday’s race by 0.342 seconds over AJ Allmendinger. Seven cautions slowed the race for 56 laps and it took 515 laps to complete the event -- the most laps ever recorded for a Martinsville race.
The NAPA KNOW HOW team returns to action on Saturday, April 14 at Texas Motor Speedway.