Martin Truex Jr.

Martin Truex Jr.

Martin Truex, Jr.
Truex, Jr. in 2007
Born (1980-06-29) June 29, 1980 (age 34)
Mayetta, New Jersey, US
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg)
Achievements 2004, 2005 NASCAR Busch Series Champion
Awards 2004, 2005 Busch Series Most Popular Driver
Statistics current as of October 27, 2013.

Martin Lee Truex Jr. (born June 29, 1980) is an American stock car racing driver. He drives the No. 56 Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Truex is a two-time Nationwide Series champion; having won the title in 2004 and 2005. His younger brother, Ryan is a champion in the K&N Pro Series East division, while his cousin Curtis raced for JR Motorsports.

Personal life

Truex was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and grew up in the Mayetta section of Stafford Township, New Jersey.[1] He graduated from Southern Regional High School in 1998. His father, Martin Truex, Sr., was a former race winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, then called the NASCAR Busch North Series.

Truex is an avid fan of the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL.[2][3]

Early career

The younger Truex began racing in the NASCAR Camping World East Series in 2000, and won 5 races in 4 years with a family-owned team. After moving south, Truex rented a home from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in Mooresville, North Carolina, before he purchased his own home.

In 2000, Truex, following in his father's footsteps, began racing in the NASCAR Camping World Series, East (then called the Busch North Series). He ran three full seasons (2000 to 2002) and made limited starts in 2003. During his time in the Camping World Series, Truex claimed 13 poles and 5 wins driving his family-owned #56 SeaWatch Chevy.

NASCAR

2001–2005

Truex made his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start in 2001 at Dover International Speedway in his father's #56 XST Paintable Silicon Chevy. He started 19th but finished 38th after an early wreck. In 2002, Truex drove one race for Phoenix Racing at New Hampshire International Speedway, starting thirteenth and finishing twenty-ninth. He ran three races the rest of that season for his father, his best finish seventeenth at Dover.

In 2003, he began the season with his father's team, before he was hired by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to drive his #81 Chance 2 Motorsports Chevy. He made his debut with Chance 2 at Richmond International Raceway, where he qualified sixth and led eleven laps before transmission failure forced him to a 31st place finish. He split time between Chance 2 and his father's team for the balance of the season, except at Dover, where he drove for Stanton Barrett. He had a sixth-place run at Bristol Motor Speedway, and ended the season with two consecutive second-place finishes. He ran a total of ten races that season.

Truex raced full-time for Chance 2 in 2004. At Bristol Motor Speedway, he would earn his first career victory, and he would later add 3 more victories over the next 7 races. This would include a victory at Talladega Superspeedway which broke his car owner's streak of winning restrictor plate races in the Nationwide Series, and a victory at the final NASCAR event held at Nazareth Speedway. He took the lead in the championship after Nazareth, but lost it to rookie Kyle Busch a few races later. However, a series of top 5's and top 10's in the second half of the season would allow Truex to pull away from Busch, clinching the Nationwide Series championship with a race to spare. While on his way to that championship, Truex made an appearance in Sprint Cup as a relief driver to Dale Earnhardt Jr., who'd suffered burns in a sports car accident. Truex started his first career Cup race for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in the #1 at Atlanta Motor Speedway later that year, qualifying 33rd and finishing 37th.

Truex stayed in the Nationwide Series to defend his championship in 2005, winning the title for the second season in a row. He won the first NASCAR Nationwide Series points race held outside the United States, in Mexico, as well as defending his Nationwide wins at Talladega and Dover International Speedway. He took his first win at Daytona International Speedway on July 1, 2005.

2006–2009

In 2006, Truex moved to the #1 Bass Pro/DEI Chevy full-time in the Nextel Cup Series. He had two top-five finishes but finished nineteenth in points. Truex got his first win of the 2007 at the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Open, securing a spot in the 2007 Nextel All-Star Challenge, where he finished 10th. A few weeks later, he won the Autism Speaks 400, scoring his first Sprint Cup Series win with an interval of seven seconds between himself and pole sitter Ryan Newman. He led over half of the race (219 of 400 laps). His performance led to a jump in overall points advancing him to 13th. He followed this performance at Dover with a third place finish at Pocono Raceway, and a second place finish at Michigan Speedway. With a 15th place finish in the Chevy Rock and Roll 400, Truex clinched a spot in his first Chase for the Sprint Cup, and finished 11th in points at season's end. He did not win in 2008, but had eleven top-tens and finished 15th in points. At the beginning of the 2009 season, his team, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. merged with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and be renamed Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Truex began the year by winning the pole for the Daytona 500. Overall in the season, Truex had acclaimed 3 pole positions (Daytona, Atlanta, and Phoenix), following his first pole in 2007 at Texas.[4] 2009 would be his final season with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.[5][6]

2010–2011

At the conclusion of the 2009 season, Truex left Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to drive the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing, receiving owner points from the #55 car formerly driven by Waltrip. The #56 was the number Martin's father drove in during his time in the Grand National Division and is considered the "family number". In his first race for Michael Waltrip Racing, Truex finished sixth in the Daytona 500.

After the series of setbacks the following 3 weeks with a blown engine and accidents he fell back to 24th in the point standings, but in the next 7 races after finishing in the top 12 5 times and all top 19 finishes, he would gain to 13th in the point standings. At Dover he earned his 5th career pole. Truex won the All Star Showdown at Charlotte thereby earning the 1st transfer spot for the All Star Race which he finished 2nd in from a 19th (out of 21) starting spot. Truex would go on to finish the 2010 season 22nd in the point standings with 1 top 5 finish and 7 top 10 finishes.

At Martinsville the following year in 2011 Truex accidentally made slight contact with Kasey Kahne resulting in a large wreck; Truex hit the wall hard head on and his car flew on fire for a few seconds as Kasey Kahne hit the wall in his car's rear. Truex climbed out instantly and went to check on Kasey Kahne who received standing ovation as he climbed out uninjured. Truex then left with officials to the care center. He said the wreck was his hardest of his career and both Truex and Kahne were released with normal symptoms. The next week officials told him his wreck was the hardest crash at Martinsville. Truex won another pole at Dover International Raceway. Truex ran well in most of the races but often struggled to finish the races off. He was deducted 25 points because of a windshield violation in the fall Talladega race. Truex ended the season 18th in points, with 3 top 5s and 12 top 10s.

2012

Truex started 2012 well, winning a $100,000 bonus at Daytona, and finishing 7th. He finally hit his stride in Texas, winning the pole and leading 69 laps. The following week at Kansas he started sixth and flat-out dominated the race, leading 173 of 267 laps but falling short to Denny Hamlin. At Atlanta he led 40 of the final 46 laps, but ultimately fell short to Hamlin again when he was forced to pit under a late race caution for fuel, ending up fourth. Truex finished finished 21st, however he had a spot clinched in the chase, and ultimately made it in. He ended up in 11th in the points, with 0 wins, 7 top 5s and 19 top 10s.[7]

2013

Truex had high and low notes in 2013. He had a few top five finishes at a few races. His first best run of 2013 was Texas, when he led during the final 55 laps of the race but came up short losing to Kyle Busch, who passed him to win with 19 laps left in the race. He also had low notes, including an accident at Martinsville and a blown engine at Dover. However, at Sonoma, Truex broke a 218 race winless streak, starting 14th on the starting grid and working his way up to win by over eight seconds over Jeff Gordon at Sonoma. The 218-race winless streak is second only to Bill Elliott, who went winless in 226 races between 1994 to 2001. It is only the second time a car numbered 56 won in NASCAR's highest division, the first being Jim Hurtubise in a 1966 Atlanta race.

At Bristol in August, Truex was involved in a wreck on Lap 448 where his car hit an inside wall at an angle that he broke his right wrist; he continued racing in spite of wearing a cast on his right wrist.[8] At Atlanta, despite nursing a broken wrist, Truex finished third to Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. In the final race at Richmond, he was in the midst of a fierce battle for the final Wildcard spot, eventually coming out over Ryan Newman by a tiebreaker. As Newman and Truex each had one win, the Wildcard spot went to Truex, for having a better number of top-five finishes than Newman; however on Monday evening, it was announced that due to MWR having attempted to manipulate the results of the race, points penalties were assessed - 50 points for Truex, Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers each - that resulted in Truex being bumped from the Chase and Newman and Jeff Gordon being added to the Chase field, as well as probation for all 3 crew chiefs, suspension of Ty Norris, and a $300,000 fine.[9]

2014

On October 14, 2013, it was announced that Michael Waltrip Racing's No. 56 would become a research and development team in 2014.[10][11] This in part was due to NAPA Auto Parts deciding to withdraw their sponsorship in the fallout from the Richmond controversy.[12] Truex was told he could offer his services as a driver to other teams, and on October 17 it was confirmed that for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season Truex and his current pit crew will move to Furniture Row Racing and drive the #78 Chevrolet SS being vacated by Kurt Busch.[13] The deal was formally announced on November 1, 2013.[14]

Motorsports career results

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Year Races Wins Poles Top 5 Top 10 DNF Finish Start Winnings Season Rank Team(s)
2004 2 0 0 0 0 2 34.5 34.0 $116,150 70th Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
2005 7 0 0 0 1 5 26.7 20.1 $929,028 47th
2006 36 0 0 2 5 5 20.8 21.2 $4,759,248 19th
2007 36 1 1 7 14 4 16.4 15.2 $5,979,549 11th
2008 36 0 0 3 11 5 18.2 17.1 $5,388,847 15th
2009 36 0 3 1 6 5 21.9 16.4 $5,053,597 23rd Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
2010 36 0 1 1 12 3 18.8 17.1 $3,978,849 22nd Michael Waltrip Racing
2011 36 0 1 3 12 3 17.7 16.8 $4,474,438 18th
2012 36 0 1 7 19 1 12.1 12.1 $6,159,590 11th
Totals 261 1 7 24 75 33 18.9 17.3 $36,839,296

References

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Brian Vickers
NASCAR Busch Series Champion
2004, 2005
Succeeded by
Kevin Harvick