Under the Spotlight: Truex Talks Momentum Following Performances at Pocono and The Glen

On this restart Truex Jr. is upfront to battle for the lead with Ambrose
and Keselowski. Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR
During the final road course and first Monday race of the season, Martin Truex Jr. scored his best finish of the season and a career-high fourth place finish at The Glen.

Throughout his career in the Sprint Cup Series, Truex has had an average start of 14.3 at the 2.3-mile road course. By midway through the race, Truex was able to drive his No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota from ninth place all the way up to fourth. On lap 70, he reached his highest position of the race and battled Kyle Busch for the lead. After surviving several wrecks, Truex was able to bring home a fourth place finish for Michael Waltrip Racing.

"We were real close today," said Truex. "We feel like we are getting closer and today was real good day to build momentum. This was a good day and we’ll have more good days coming up for the NAPA Toyota. We’ve got some momentum."

So far this season Truex has one top-five and seven top-10 finishes. Prior to Monday’s race at The Glen, Truex’s best finish of the season was sixth in the March race at Las Vegas.

Back in June the team announced that it would replace then crew chief Pat Tryson with team engineer Chad Johnston starting at the June race at Pocono. Some were skeptical as to whether or not the change would make a difference in the performance of the No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Team.

Truex has had one top-five and three top-10 finishes since the crew chief replacement, but despite the slow momentum building since Johnston has come on board, Truex has had an impressive couple of weeks.

Last week at Pocono he had his best start of the season, taking the green-flag from a third-place start. The team struggled with a loose-handling car for the first half of the race, but after adjustments made by crew chief Chad Johnston, the NAPA Toyota was able to gain six spots on the final restart and finish the race in 4th. Only time will tell if the change in leadership is what the team needed in order to be a top-contender in the sport.

Rumors have also been circulating that Truex’s primary sponsor NAPA Auto Parts is shopping around for another team with which to place its sponsorship, the No. 56 Toyota team has gained two associate sponsors, AAA and Schick Xtreme3, which will remain with Truex until the end of the 2012 season.

Truex has gained two spots in the driver standings after the past two races and now sits 21st in points. Heading to Michigan next week, the MWR driver has two second-place finishes in 2007 and an average career finish of 17.4.

Kristina LaFountain's columns for Skirts and Scuffs include Red Bull Rundown, Under the Spotlight and Racing Toward a Cause. She is also a contributor for Speedway Media. You can follow Kristina on Twitter @klafounta.
Under the Spotlight: Truex Talks Momentum Following Performances at Pocono and The Glen Under the Spotlight: Truex Talks Momentum Following Performances at Pocono and The Glen Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, August 16, 2011 Rating: 5