No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. would like nothing better than to celebrate his 32nd birthday this weekend at Kentucky Speedway with another victory for Michael Waltrip Racing. Truex led 15 laps and MWR teammate and race winner Clint Bowyer led 71 of the 112 laps on the road course at Sonoma last weekend. Brian Vickers finished fourth in MWR’s third Toyota.
Bowyer and Truex are seventh and ninth in the standings while the No. 55 is 12th in owner points. Truex owns a 41 point advantage over 11th place for one of the 10 points berths in the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Martin Truex Jr. on MWR’s win at Sonoma: “Sunday’s win was huge with Clint. It’s a really cool deal for Michael, (co-owner) Rob (Kauffman) and everyone at MWR who have worked so hard over the years. All three MWR teams have been so close to winning all season long. It was just a matter of time for one of us to finally get there. To get it out of the way was really cool. I am so proud to be a part of this organization. Now, we just have to go out and do it with the NAPA AUTO PARTS team.”
On Kentucky: “Kentucky Speedway has been a mixed bag for me. It has really changed so much over the years. Last year, we didn’t really run very well there. In the past, I have had good runs there in a Nationwide car. I’ve had several top-fives so I’m not stressing over last year at all. With the way our teams have worked together and the way our Toyotas have been running, I look forward to the challenge. It’s a pretty neat track. It’s really fast. It’s crazy bumpy. It’s a huge challenge for everyone to get these cars around it. The key will be to keep the splitters off the ground.”
On racing’s ups and downs: “It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the NAPA team. We’ve had fast cars. We just don’t have a lot to show for it after getting caught up in some wrecks. At Pocono, it happened on the first lap and at Sonoma, it happened on the last lap. Go figure. It is what it is. We are not in bad shape by any means especially with the way our entire organization has been running. It’s a matter of us being able to shake this monkey off our back. I am just so happy to still be in the top 10 in points. We have a little bit of a cushion. I really see road courses like superspeedways. If you can get out of there, you have the potential to make big gains. If we would have stayed the course on Sunday and finished sixth, seventh or even eighth at worse, we’d be in fifth place right now. It’s frustrating, but I still feel good with where we are as a team. We are performing well. We just need to go back to where we started the season and finish up in the top five and stay out of harm’s way.”