Mechanical Issue Ends Truex’s Race Early at Phoenix

CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished 43rd in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway.

“Something just went in the engine,” said Truex to the media in the garage. “It’s a shame. We had an awesome racecar this weekend. I felt like we had a shot at challenging for a win, but it wasn’t meant to be. I can’t say enough about TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and what they’ve been able to do for us this year -- their engines have been incredible. This is the first problem we’ve had all year long and they’ve done an awesome job at giving us really good horsepower. Last year, we struggled on the engine side of things as far as power goes and this year they’ve done such a great job. It’s a shame. It always happens when you have a really good racecar, but at the end of the day, they’ve done awesome. This is just a small little thing and I’m sure it’s a parts failure or something like that.”

The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started second, but reported problems under the hood on the second lap. When the issue worsened, Truex drove to pit lane and then to the garage. The team diagnosed the problem as a valve train issue, which ended the NAPA team’s attempt to get back on track.

“The engine started laying down on like the second lap and something broke in the top end and just started eating itself up. We’re done for the day,” continued Truex. “We’ve had such a good race car all weekend long and really felt like we were going to have a shot at maybe challenging for the win today. It wasn’t meant to be. The NAPA Toyota was really good all weekend. The guys did a great job. I also have got to say all the guys at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) -- they’ve done such an incredible job all year long with our engine program. This is the first problem we’ve had and we’ve had great horsepower all year long. We really struggled with that last year and they really stepped it up, so I want to thank all those guys. Just one of those deals -- probably a parts failure or something. It kind of came at a bad time for us.”

Kevin Harvick won the race by 0.580 seconds over Denny Hamlin. Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-five finishers.

Truex and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team return to action in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Truex will start the final race in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 11th place -- 111 points out of first.