Sunday, October 21, 2012

MWR Weekly Wrap-Up: Truex again scores runner-up finish at Kansas

Rob Riggle waves the green flag to start the Hollywood Casino 400
at Kansas Speedway.  Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images

At one point during the Hollywood Casino 400, all three Michael Waltrip Racing cars looked capable of winning the race and adding another win to the 2012 season tally. In the end, Martin Truex Jr. again finished in the runner-up position at Kansas but said he was not disappointed, rather happy.

Credit: Michael Waltrip Racing
Clint Bowyer - No. 15 Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY 
Started: 3rd
Finished: 6th
Points: 4th (-25) 

Coming off of last week's win at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Clint Bowyer and the No. 15 team were poised for another win.

Running in the top 10 for much of the race, Bowyer was able to avoid the wreck fest that brought out a record 14 cautions. After taking the checkers in sixth, Bowyer holds onto fourth in the points and closes the gap to 25 behind Brad Keselowski. Of note, today's finish was Clint's 20th top-10 finish of 2012.

"It was just a long day -- frustrating," Bowyer said on the race at his home track. "I think I started on the outside one time early in the race and just every time it just killed me. We were obviously set up for fuel mileage and after the cautions kept coming, it just kept digging us more and more in the hole. Restarts kind of killed us all day long, but we gained on them -- but not near enough."

Bowyer said, "We've just got to keep digging. You've got to keep gaining on them. I was hoping to gain a little bit more than that, but we had a solid day and just frustrating though."

Credit: Michael Waltrip Racing
Mark Martin - No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine 
Started: 2nd
Finished: 24th 
Points: 14th (owners) 

After leading 60 laps, Mark Martin's chance of winning in the "Land of Oz" experienced engine problems dropping him to a 24th place finish.

While winless this season, Mark Martin and the entire No. 55 team has been one of the most impressive teams to watch. From practice speeds to poles and race performance, they are onto a good thing. The wins will come, they obviously have been close all season, given their stats.

The ever positive Martin tweeted,"Proud of @rchilders55 @aaronssports team for the awesome effort today. We had a shot, then broke something in engine.#NASCAR go @MWRteam."

“That’s disappointing, but it was a heck of a run today. We couldn't buy a break. Rodney had the right strategy today, but the caution fell every time we made a pit stop. Our Toyota was awesome today. We’ll get them in Texas.”

Brian Vickers returns to the No. 55 at Martinsville, his final race of the season. Mark Martin will be in the driver's seat at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.

Credit:Michael Waltrip Racing
Martin Truex Jr. - No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota
Started: 16th
Finished: 2nd
Points: 6th (-43) 

Another race where Martin Truex Jr. was in contention to win, another missed opportunity to close the deal. What's missing?

Today it was simply an issue of handling, tight conditions in the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota made the race a challenge. Coupled with the new surface, record number of cautions and the carnage from those cautions, second isn't a bad finish.

Truex tweeted, "Dangit 2nd again. Great job by all our boys@MWRteam we got 4 more chances to win and some really good tracks for us. Thanks yall"

“Well, it’s a lot different mood after this one too. After the first one I was disappointed. Today, I’m happy with my team and my race car we had all day. We really had to battle for this one.  We got track position early. We got up towards the top-five and we had a strong car -- a little bit tight. Then we got caught out by that caution deal and had to go all the way to the back. Just tough to pass, so it was a battle all day long.  Proud of the guys on the NAPA Toyota -- they never gave up.  Just kept digging all day long. That’s a good run for us, for sure. Just a little bit too tight there at the end there to run with Matt (Kenseth). A good run and we’ll go on to Martinsville.”


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