CORNELIUS, N.C. – If momentum matters in racing then No. 56 NAPA Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. will be a favorite in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway which happens to fall on his 33rd birthday. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver led 51 of 110 laps at Sonoma Raceway last weekend on his way to winning by 8.133 seconds. It marked the Mayetta, N.J. native’s second career Cup victory and first with MWR. The victory moved him to 10th in the standings and solidified his chances to put the NAPA Toyota in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup for a second consecutive year.
Truex now sets his sights on the 1.5-mile oval in Sparta, Ky. where his Chad Johnston-led team has excelled in 2013. Only Kasey Kahne has scored more points on the 1.5-mile ovals in NASCAR’s new Gen-6 cars this season.
TRUEX ON WINNING:
“Man, this has been an incredible week so far. I woke up Monday morning and checked my phone to make sure it really happened. It is so nice to know that when I set foot on the grounds of Kentucky Speedway, no one will be asking me a question that involves the number 219. I can’t even begin to tell you the feeling that I had when I crossed the finish line. I was a mess. Every thing I could think of … all the days that were bad. All the days that we were leading to only have it taken away at the end. It is such a proud moment for me and to get NAPA AUTO PARTS into victory lane is a very gratifying moment in my career. I sure hope we can do it a bunch more times this year.”
ENTERING KENTUCKY 10TH IN POINTS:
“My philosophy remains the same. I am not thinking about points until after the race at Richmond. I stopped focusing on it and landed in victory lane. It’s amazing to think that we are in the position we are in. It’s been a rollercoaster of a season and if we can keep the bad luck from biting us, I think we will be in good shape.”
ON KENTUCKY AND UPCOMING TRACKS:
“Kentucky should be a good race for us. We had a really good run there last year. We finished eighth. Our 1.5-mile program has been really impressive this year. Daytona is a crap shoot. I love New Hampshire. Honestly, I think we can go anywhere and run well. I think our worst run of the year was a few weeks ago at Pocono. But we still felt like we could have left the place with a top-10 finish. Heck, if we can win at Sonoma, we can win anywhere as far as I am concerned.”
GOT LUCKY WITH TRUEX:
(We usually call it “Get Lucky with Truex,” but this charm worked last time!) Truex took a feather to Sonoma as a good luck charm sent in by Martha McDonald of Red Boiling Springs, Tenn. The charm worked so well he’ll carry it Saturday night in Kentucky. McDonald and a guest will attend a race of their choice as guests of Truex. Her son Lukas found the feather the day he returned home from a three-month hospital stay after suffering critical injuries.
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.