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Bristol Night Race is ‘A Boxing Match in an Elevator’

44th Annual Pure Michigan 400 - Qualifying

CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. plans to continue Michael Waltrip Racing’s success at Bristol Motor Speedway when NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers hit the track Saturday for the Bristol night race. MWR’s three drivers own the best average finish in the last three races.

The MWR surge began in March 2012 when Truex, Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers finished third, fourth and fifth — a first for the organization co-owned by Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman

There’s a lot on the line Saturday night. Truex is 12th in the standings with three races remaining before the start of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup. Truex holds the second and final provisional wild card (653 points, one win) as he seeks his second consecutive Chase berth. Kasey Kahne has the first transfer spot with 659 points and two victories. Only 14 points separate positions eight through 12 and 10 points separate Truex from 10th place in the standings.

“It’s just insane — it’s out of control. Bristol is like having a boxing match in an elevator. Everything is so right there and so packed together. The fans are on top of the action. When you’re driving the car, you’re always in the middle of something. You’re always busy and you don’t get any time to rest. It’s just an exciting place and it keeps you amped up and keeps you on the edge of your seat all night long.”

“The NAPA team has been close to winning there. We’ve been second there a few times and third — we’ve been really good there. It would be a fun one to win. I won there in Nationwide and it sure would be great to win. We want to win everywhere, but there are certain tracks that are really cool to win at and Bristol is definitely one of them with that night race and getting to drive on top of the building with the fireworks shooting off. Yeah, that is one I want to get especially considering how close the points are with three races to go. A second win would certainly help us if we need a wild card to make it into the Chase.”

“He’s been a great part-time teammate. He fits in so well with our group that Monday’s announcement to put Vickers in the seat for 12 of the 13 races left makes the most sense. It gives us all a head start and allows for a seamless transition into 2014. I think with the few races he’s run with us this year — obviously it includes a win, he’s done an incredible job. Now, he’s going to be able to help us even more as we try to lock up two of our three cars into the Chase with just three races to go.”

Join us this Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway to cheer on Martin Truex Jr. and the NAPA Racing team. Or, watch the Bristol night race live on ABC beginning at 7:30 p.m. EST.

TV Schedule (All times Eastern Standard Time)

Friday, August 22

12:00 PM                   NSCS Practice Bristol                                           FoxSports1
2:30 PM                     NCSC Final Practice Bristol                                FoxSports1
5:30 PM                     NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying Bristol      ESPN2

Saturday, August 23

5:00 PM                     NASCAR Raceday Bristol                                    FoxSports1
7:00 PM                     NSCS Countdown  Bristol                                   ABC
7:30 PM                     NSCS: IRWIN Tools Night Race Bristol           ABC

In preparations for the Chase, all three teams are testing at Richmond International Speedway August 20 and 21. Next week, they’ll test at Chicagoland Speedway on August 26 and 27.

MWR in 2013
MWR has two combined recorded wins (Truex Jr. – Sonoma; Vickers – Loudon-1), 17 top-five and 31 top-10 finishes. Bowyer currently ranks second in points trailing Jimmie Johnson by 41 and could clinch his Chase for the Sprint Cup berth this weekend at Bristol. Truex Jr., with one win, is in the second and final transfer spot with three races remaining.

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