When it comes to what is known as NASCAR’s four crown jewel races, Martin Truex Jr. is off to a pretty good start. He finished second by inches in the Daytona 500 and then went on to win the Coca-Cola 600 in record fashion at Charlotte Motor Speedway, leading 392 of 400 laps.
The third crown jewel will be contested Sunday – the Brickyard 400 at the hallowed grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The fourth major -- the Southern 500 will take place over Labor Day weekend at the historic Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
“Indy is another race that we all want to win,” said Truex. “It’s not only one of our biggest and most prestigious races, but it’s at a venue that carries plenty of history, and where many of the top names in auto racing have competed and won. We also have a new primary sponsor for this race – Auto-Owners Insurance – and that makes it even more exciting for our Furniture Row Racing team.”
Truex, who had his best career result at Indy last year with a fourth-place finish, doesn’t doubt for one second that his No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota can win the revered race.
“We’ve been fast all year and I don’t see any reason why we won’t be the same at Indy,” noted Truex, who is seventh in driver points. “We tested there recently and felt we learned a lot. Our Furniture Row Racing crew is looking forward to the return visit. But make no mistake, Indianapolis is not an easy track. All four corners have a different character to them and you have to drive each one differently. Plenty of things to work out there. It’s going to be hot, the track will be slick. It will be another typical challenging weekend at Indy.”
He added, “We had shots at winning the past two races at Kentucky and New Hampshire, but a (pit-road passing) penalty that I questioned spoiled our chance in Kentucky and a broken shifter was the culprit in New Hampshire.”
By leading 123 laps in New Hampshire Truex continues to be the Sprint Cup Series front runner with 989 laps led after the first 19 races. His previous best season for laps led in 36 races was 581 in 2007. Last year he led 567.
“Leading all those laps is a tribute to our team – crew chief Cole Pearn, the engineers, road crew, pit crew and all the guys back at the shop in Denver, the Toyota power and our technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing,” explained Truex. “We might be different in some ways, but the bottom line is that we’ve been competitive week in and week out.”
In 11 career starts at the Brickyard 400, Truex has one top five, two top 10s. His starting average is 22.3 and finishing average 19.3.
Truex Jr. Looking to Shine at Another Crown Jewel Race
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