Martin Truex Jr. Dover Recap Video (via Michael Waltrip Racing)
Martin Truex Jr. Dover Recap
CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished sixth in Sunday’s AAA 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway.
“Well, it wasn’t pretty at the beginning,” said Truex. “It was pretty damn pretty at the end. What a crazy day. At the start of the race we were just terrible. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was the first set of tires or something else. We pitted and made a few changes. The caution flag put us two laps down. But, at that point the NAPA Toyota was fast. It was fast all day after that. We just battled -- battled hard. We passed a ton of cars. Obviously, we got a few at the end because of the fuel mileage deal. We came from dead last after the ‘lucky dog’ during the last run and I was catching the 99 (Carl Edwards). He was on the lead lap all day. I was a little bit frustrated. But, all in all, we fought hard. We showed what we were made of and battled back. We were just off at the beginning of the race.”
The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started third and battled for track position after a debris caution on lap 70 left only six cars on the lead lap.
Truex fought his way back into the top 10 by halfway and then earned the Aaron’s Lucky Dog free pass with 85 laps remaining to return to the lead lap.
As teams attempted to stretch their fuel mileage in the closing laps, the NAPA driver raced by several cars to finish sixth.
“It’s a great finish for where we started,” added Truex. “We’re still kind of confused on what happened there at the beginning with the first set of tires. It was terrible. You know, we went from third -- to I don’t even know where we were. I think around 13th, 14th place. We were half-a-straightaway from being lapped. Then really the biggest thing that hurt us was the caution. We pitted and the caution came out. If we had just stayed out three or four more laps, we’d have been in good shape. We played catch-up all day. I am proud of the guys for sticking with it. When you have days like that you just have to keep fighting. Today we kept fighting and came out with a good result.”
Winning the AAA 400 in front of an estimated crowd of 85,000 was Brad Keselowski. He beat Jeff Gordon by 1.078 seconds. Rounding out the top-five were MWR’s Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards.
The race was completed in three hours and 11 minutes. It featured 11 lead changes among six drivers.
At the conclusion of the race, NAPA Racing’s crew chief Chad Johnston won the DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Race award. The $5,000 award goes to the crew chief who demonstrates the best qualifying and race effort as determined by averaging the sum of their qualifying and race finish for each event.
The NAPA AUTO PARTS team returns to action Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Truex will start the fourth of the 10-race Chase in eighth just 42 points out of first.