Truex Contends for Win at Darlington Raceway

Fifth-Place Finish Earns Truex Tie for Fifth in the Driver Standings – 40 Points Out of First

Martin Truex Jr. Darlington Recap Video (via Michael Waltrip Racing)

Martin Truex Jr. Darlington Recap
Photo Gallery

Martin Truex Jr. Darlington Recap
Pinterest Board

CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished fifth in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway. The top-five result moves Truex into a tie for fifth in the championship points standings and only 40 markers out of the lead.

On Friday, the Michael Waltrip Racing driver qualified a career-best sixth at the track "Too Tough To Tame." Throughout most of the 367-lap event on Saturday, Truex battled a loose-handling Toyota. Despite the challenge, he competed comfortably within the top-five.

Shortly after the team's green-flag stop on lap 279, the NAPA Toyota claimed the lead and held it for 25 laps. The NAPA team relinquished the top spot in favor of fuel when crew chief Chad Johnston called the driver in for one final time under caution on lap 308. The NAPA KNOW HOW pit crew's service included two fresh tires and much-needed fuel as the NAPA Toyota was nine laps short of making it to the end of the race.

As for the rest of the front runners, they chose to stay out and gamble. The NAPA Toyota lined up 11th with more than 50 laps to go. When the checkered flag waved, Truex made an impressive drive to the front by picking up six spots en route to the team's fourth top-five finish and seventh top-10 of the year.

"I really wanted to win so bad," said Truex. "Hindsight is 20/20, and we win as a team and we lose as a team. Chad made the call to pit on lap 308 when most of the leaders stayed out and gambled on fuel to make it to the end. We were nine laps short so we pitted so it would not be an issue. Last year, fuel mileage was never on our side. Who is to say it would be on our side this time? If the race had gone green the whole way when we were leading, Chad would have looked like a hero. I am behind my NAPA team —100 percent! I am so proud of my guys. We turned in my best qualifying lap of my career here at Darlington, and tonight, we led 25 laps in the race.

In front of an estimated NASCAR crowd of 63,000, Jimmie Johnson won his 56th-career victory and 200th for Hendrick Motorsports. Rounding out the top-five were Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and Truex Jr.

The Darlington Raceway event included 22 lead changes among eight drivers along with eight cautions for 38 laps.

The NAPA team returns to action next Saturday night for NASCAR's Sprint All-Star festivities when the No. 56 team competes in the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Race Results

Championship Standings