CORNELIUS, N.C. — Heading into the Pocono 500 in 2011, No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. got word that his lead engineer, Chad Johnston was becoming his crew chief.
Until then, Johnston had never led a team in any form of NASCAR competition.
Now, after 72 races together, Truex and Johnston earned MWR its first berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup alongside teammate Clint Bowyer and are in contention for a second-straight appearance. Plus, nearly half of their finishes — 33 — are top 10s.
In four races together at Pocono Raceway, Truex has earned one top-five and two top-10 finishes and ranks eighth in most points earned by at driver.
Martin Truex Jr. Thoughts On Crew Chief Chad Johnston: “I think what makes it work between me and Chad is the fact that he understands how our system works and how to get the most out of it. He knows how to get the right information out of the people and then give the right feedback to make our cars even better.
“As far as the engineering side goes, he’s not afraid to go out on a limb and work on stuff himself to make our cars faster. And as far as our relationship, I think we have similar backgrounds growing up in racing with our dads. We have a passion for racing that started at a young age. We aren’t afraid to work hard to get what we want. Chad works harder than anyone I have ever seen in the garage as far as crew chiefs go. I think that’s a big part of why we have been successful together. The only thing that’s missing is a win and that’s coming. We are running too well for that not to happen. I just hope it’s this weekend and I think we are more than capable of making a win happen at Pocono.”
Truex on NAPA Team’s Success and Pocono: “On Sunday at Dover, I thought we had a real chance to win the race. I am so proud of my NAPA team and what all we have been able to accomplish. They are giving me such good race cars and making really good adjustments throughout the course of a weekend. We just need to put it all together and have some of these things quit biting us. We’ve got the speed. We’ve got the race team. We’re headed to Pocono and we’ve been good there. In the fall, I think we had the best car. The storm ended the race when we were running in third. I am looking forward to going back there and getting two more spots out of the place.”
-Michael Waltrip Racing PR