CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished 23rd in Sunday’s 400-mile race at Pocono Raceway Tricky Triangle.
The Michael Waltrip Racing driver lined up 15th on the triangular oval superspeedway after rain cancelled qualifying and forced NASCAR to set the field by points.
During the early stages of the 160-lap race, Truex battled a loose-handling Toyota that cost him track position due to the race going caution free for the first 65 laps and then a second caution didn’t come until lap 126.
The Michael Waltrip Racing driver climbed back into the top 15 by the halfway mark and was posting his fastest lap times. However, with less than 40 laps to go, a caution fell when the NAPA Toyota was on pit road to get much-needed fuel. It cost Truex a lap.
The Pocono 400 came down to a four-lap dash to the finish. Truex restarted 24th and crossed the finish line 23rd.
Jimmie Johnson edged Greg Biffle by 1.208 seconds. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-five. The race featured 12 lead changes among four drivers.
“We missed it today,” said Truex. “We battled a loose NAPA Toyota all day long. We got up to 11th and thought we might make it out of here OK but then we ran out of fuel coming to pit road. That’s when NASCAR threw a caution flag. It cost us so much track position and it was a real challenge just trying to race up through all the traffic. Our NAPA Toyota was a handful back there. We did our best to get all we could. We definitely have some work to do before we come back here. It’s really unfortunate especially with how well we’ve run this season. I didn’t think we would be off like this.”
The top-25 result places Truex 17th in the championship standings – 31 markers out of the top 10.
Join us at Michigan International Speedway when the No. 56 NAPA KNOW HOW crew returns to action on Sunday at 1:00 p.m., or watch the race live on TNT.
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.