CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished fourth in Sunday’s NASCAR 2013 Sprint Cup Series finale race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Driving his final race for Michael Waltrip Racing, the driver started eighth in a car most teams considered a favorite to win after three very strong practice sessions. In the first half of the 267-lap event, Truex never ventured much outside the top 10 and at times, drove into the top five.
With less than 75 laps to go, the NAPA driver was back in the game running in the top five. It all came down to a 28-lap dash to the finish. Truex lined up eighth and quickly moved into fourth position to produce his fastest laps of the race en route to the top-five finish.
The NAPA team ended the 2013 Sprint Cup Series with one win (Sonoma), six top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. In four seasons with Michael Waltrip Racing, Truex recorded one win, three poles, 18 top-five and 53 top-10 finishes.
“It was a good race for us,” said Truex. “Obviously, we didn’t have the speed most of the race and really worked hard on the car to get the balance right, get the handling right. We were pretty good on long runs all day, but just taking off we really struggled to have speed and guys would just blow our doors off for 10 laps and then we could settle in and run as good as the guys ahead of us. It was just hard to pass once they would all get up and run against the wall. Just made a lot of adjustments all night and finally got what we needed right there on that last restart and was able to pass some guys.
“We were running the first three down there again, but just too little, too late. I wish we could have got it figured out a little bit earlier, but proud of my guys on my NAPA Toyota for a great year-end run for us and just can’t thank all these guys enough — Michael (Waltrip, team owner) and Rob (Kauffman, team owner) and NAPA and Toyota and everybody that has made it possible the last four years to have such a good time, make the Chase and the win at Sonoma this year.
“All the things we did together were special and going to miss these guys and hopefully see them around a lot next year.”
Denny Hamlin won the race. Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer rounded out top-five. Eight cautions slowed the race for 37 laps. The race featured 22 lead changes among eight drivers.