CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. might not have visited victory lane Saturday night in the All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but raising $80,000 for a children’s hospital had to make him feel pretty good.
Truex did win the Showdown pole and has much to gain this weekend in the Coke 600 in Charlotte. His Michael Waltrip Racing team is in 14th-place just 14 points out of 10th place in a bid to earn a second-consecutive berth in NASCAR’s “Chase for the Sprint Cup.”
Organizers at last Wednesday’s Catwalk for a Cause Presented by Toyota project the Martin Truex Jr. Special Needs fund at Levine Children’s Hospital to reach the $80,000 mark by week’s end.
TRUEX ON COCA-COLA 600: “We learned a lot in the Sprint Showdown. Unfortunately, we just missed it. We were too aero-tight. It certainly wasn’t the finish we were expecting after starting from the pole, but it shed a lot of light on what we need to do better this weekend. Charlotte is a tricky track for us and this Sunday’s race is so important to us. The key will be keeping up with the car throughout the entire 600 miles. Plus, it’s a Memorial Day tradition. We want to run well in front of the home crowd.
“We’ve been running well and the points are coming to us. We are in striking distance of making the Chase again. Right now, the focus is on making our NAPA Toyotas even better and getting victories. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if we make the Chase. If we are not capable of winning, it’s going to be hard to win a championship.”
GET LUCKY WITH TRUEX: Truex is taking CPL USMC Eric C. Beck’s blood patch to the Coca-Cola 600. Beck from Holly Ridge, N.C. says the patch kept him safe from the enemy when he served in Afghanistan.
PAINT SCHEME: The No. 56 and all MWR Toyotas will carry special “NASCAR: An American Salute” paint scheme on Sunday at Charlotte. NASCAR Unites is an initiative uniting NAPA AUTO PARTS, MWR, the NASCAR industry and fans to celebrate America and enhance the lives of U.S. military families. The NASCAR Unites Military Family Fund will benefit the USO and support our troops.