Martin Truex Jr. Fontana Recap Video (via Michael Waltrip Racing)
Martin Truex Jr. Fontana Recap Photo Gallery
CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished eighth in Sunday’s rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway.
“We were a bit off at the start of the race,” said Truex as the rain fell. “We made some changes during ‘Happy Hour’ and kind of missed it a little bit, but the guys worked hard on the NAPA Toyota. At one point there, we were as fast as the leader for the whole run. You run 130 laps with no caution and it can kind of gets strung out. We were able to maintain and obviously stay on the lead lap. We started making some positions up after about lap 80 or so. The very last run there we got too loose and we gave about two of the spots back. Overall, it’s been a decent day. This place was really tough on us last year. It’s nice to come in here and have a decent run -- something we can build on. We’ve been on a good run lately. It is nice to keep it going -- keep the top-10s going.”
The NAPA Toyota driver started 13th and battled back from a lack of front grip during the first half of the race to contend for a top-10 finish. Then shortly after lap 100, Truex raced up to 10th place before crew chief Chad Johnston told his driver it was time to go as rain was not too far away. He was right as his driver managed to pick up two more positions before the rain started to tease the field.
It finally arrived on lap 123 to bring out the caution. Truex remained out on the track. Six laps later, NASCAR red flagged the race.
More than 90,000 fans wondered if Tony Stewart would be declared the winner and after 30 minutes, NASCAR called the race complete. Only one caution slowed the race for five laps for an average speed of 160.166 mph. The event also saw nine lead changes among five drivers.
Rounding out the top-five finishers were Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards.
Truex’s third top-10 finish of the season moves him to fifth place in the championship point standings – only 20 markers out of first.
Next Sunday, the NAPA AUTO PARTS team competes at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va.