CORNELIUS, N.C. — Bristol Motor Speedway is one of No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr.’s best tracks. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver finished second and third in the last two NASCAR Sprint Cup races on the Tennessee short track. Truex along with MWR teammates Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers all posted top-five finishes at Bristol in March.
Not only does Truex aim for a victory this weekend at Bristol, he’d also like to clinch MWR’s first berth in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. If the sixth-place Truex stretches his lead to 97 points over 11th place, he’ll get locked in. Truex and Bowyer are closing out the regular season in strong fashion. The duo have scored the fourth and fifth most points of all drivers in the last five races.
POINTS IN LAST 5 RACES
Truex Jr. 179
TRUEX JR. ON RACING AT BRISTOL: “I believe we can win the race this weekend at Bristol. The last two times we have finished second and third. We definitely have something for the Bristol fans. We are facing a different tire compound. I am also not sure what to expect since they grinded the top groove. For me, I’ll just play it by ear and work with my NAPA team. I sure hope we can get a win before the Chase starts.
“Our NAPA Toyotas are really strong right now. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of this MWR turnaround. It’s been so rewarding. To come from where we were in 2010 to middle part of last season, then progress to where we ended in 2011 to where we started this year has been a constant evolution of our Toyotas. Honestly, with where our Toyotas are now, our old notebooks are junk. We are still learning and fine-tuning our cars. We are starting to hit on some stuff that is getting us back to form because I feel like we lost our edge when they made the new side skirt rules a few months ago.
“With three races to go, we have to be smart. We are walking a fine line of trying to venture out and learn some stuff without losing consistency. I feel like Chad (Johnston-crew chief) and the whole company have done a good job at keeping a good balance. We are working on some new things at the same time as we are trying to earn top-10 finishes and get locked into the Chase. For this NAPA team, we just don’t want to make the Chase. We want to be in there and make some noise so it’s all about learning as much as we can without screwing up.”
AUTOGRAPHS: Truex will sign autographs at his souvenir rig Saturday at 3:40 p.m.
MWR AT BRISTOL: A MWR driver has finished second in Bristol’s last two August races (Truex Jr. in 2011, Reutimann in 2010).
MWR AT BRISTOL II: A MWR driver has led laps in each of the last four races at Bristol (Reutimann led 25 laps in fall 2010, Truex 63 laps in spring 2011, Truex five laps in fall 2011 and Vickers 125 laps in spring 2012).