CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. goes home to Dover International Speedway this weekend on a roll that would earn the admiration of even the most jaded gambler at the track’s casino.
The Mayetta, N.J. native left Martinsville Speedway on April 7 mired in 25th place in the standings. His Michael Waltrip Racing team needed to turn the season around immediately if it hoped to earn a second consecutive berth in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Six races later guess who’s sitting ninth in points?
In the last six races, the No. 56 team has earned the fourth most points as Truex has turned in four top-10 finishes. The surge comes with second and fourth place finishes at Texas and Kansas and despite a 17th-place finish at Richmond that saw him spun by another driver while battling for the lead. Truex earned two more top-10 finishes compiling an average start of 7.5 and average finish of 8.5.
Truex should bolster these numbers at Dover — a track he’s won at three times — once in Cup (2007) and twice in the Nationwide Series (2004, 2005).
Martin Truex Jr. Thoughts Heading Into Dover: “We’ve run well in the last six races and our numbers show it. In fact, we’ve run well all year but just had one issue or another that messes us up. Our focus is on getting all the little things right so that we can be even better and better each week. We walked out of Charlotte disappointed because of finishing ninth. Ninth was about the worst we were all night because of the restarts we got. It was frustrating being in the low line. Chad gave me the best car I have ever had at Charlotte. I consider that place to be one of my toughest tracks and I had one of the best cars out there. I know I have a real chance to win this weekend in Dover. I cannot wait to get out on the track and see what all we can get done.”
What makes Dover a unique race track? “The banking, the speed — it’s narrow. Everything about it is different than anywhere we go. It’s really just an awesome race track. I mean, winning there twice in the Nationwide Series and then in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2007 makes Dover a special place to race for me and my family. I just look forward to going back and trying to win it all over again.”
Join us for the race! Truex will appear on SPEED-TV’s Race Day Sunday on June 2nd at 11:30 a.m. Watch the FedEx 400 live from Dover on FOX this Sunday beginning at 1:00 p.m.
HONORARY CREW MEMBER: Truex will be running a special “Team Brenda” pink ribbon decal on Sunday to recognize the courageous battle being fought by the wife of this week’s NAPA Honorary Pit Crew Member, Troy Hazzard. He is the owner of Hazzard Auto Repair, a NAPA AutoCare Center in Lewes, Del. Brenda is battling breast cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.
GET LUCKY WITH TRUEX: Truex is taking a Guardian Bell with him to Dover. It was submitted by Dan Boyd from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada who carried it on his motorcycle for 12 years. Like Truex, Boyd comes from a fishing family. He chose this particular bell because of the lighthouse on it as it’s a guide for mariners and a symbol of safety.
Nick Palermo is a freelance automotive writer and NAPA Know How blogger. Since becoming an auto news and reviews contributor at AutoTrader.com in 2011, he has broadened his coverage of the automotive industry to include topics like new car technology, antiques and classics, DIY maintenance and repair, industry news and motorsports. A committed advocate for automotive media professionals, Nick is a member of the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.