Martin Truex Jr. Bristol Recap Video (via Michael Waltrip Racing)
Martin Truex Jr. Bristol Recap
CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished 11th in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
"We battled the same issue all weekend long," said Truex after the race. "Our NAPA Toyota just would not turn at all. It was really tight through the middle of the corners. Chad (Johnston - crew chief) made some adjustments to make it better but it was really tough out there to pass. Our NAPA Toyota ran decent on the high line, but would not run the low line like Clint's Toyota. We learned a lot this weekend and will definitely look over what our teammates did. We will certainly learn from this."
Truex started 15th after rain washed out Friday's qualifying session and the field was set according to the NASCAR rule book.
The NAPA Toyota raced into the top-10 by lap 100 and up to second by lap 200. On lap 364, Truex drove his No. 56 machine to the lead where he remained for more than 40 laps.
Throughout the race, crew chief Chad Johnston made a series of adjustments to help loosen up the No. 56 so it would turn better for Truex. One final chance to perfect the NAPA Toyota happened under caution on lap 415 with the driver scored in second. The NAPA KNOW HOW pit crew changed the right-side tires and made air pressure adjustments. Truex returned to the track in ninth position while several cars stayed out in favor of the track position.
The final 80 laps saw two more caution-flag periods. Truex ran within the top-10. However in the closing laps, the driver reported to his crew chief that the handling had drastically gone away which led to the 11th-place finish.
Truex's top-15 moved him up to fifth place in the championship point standings with a 67-point cushion on 11th place for the tenth and final Chase points berth with two races remaining.
In front of 145,000 fans, Denny Hamlin edged out Jimmie Johnson by 1.103 seconds for the victory. A total of 13 cautions slowed the race for 87 laps. The race featured 22 lead changes among 13 drivers.
The NAPA AUTO PARTS team competes Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.