Martin Truex Jr. looking to reverse Kansas karma in his 400th Sprint Cup start

Leave a comment

Martin Truex Jr. will make his 400th Sprint Cup Series start this weekend at Kansas Speedway, and he’s hoping it’s a story of redemption.

In May, Truex dominated the 1.5-mile oval by winning the pole and leading a race-high 172 laps. But after a Lap 210 pit stop, Truex reported a loose wheel and vibration, which ended up being the result of a broken bolt off the brake that had lodged behind the right front wheel. After making an unscheduled stop, Truex finished a disappointing 14th.

Since then, the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops / TRACKER Boats Toyota has led 1,224 laps and picked up four wins. Truex has also advanced to the second round of the Chase.

“That was just one more race at Kansas where we were dominant but didn’t close the deal,” Truex said in a team release about being winless at Kansas although he’s led 518 laps. “But right now I am happy we’re headed to Kansas, this is a race we feel we can run up front and possibly win. When we left Kansas in May, I said, ‘If we keep on bringing cars like we had tonight we’re going to win.’ Since Kansas we have done that, winning four times.

“I am hoping that my 400th Cup start will be much better than my first one. Can’t believe it’s gone by this fast but I am sure enjoying every race, especially this season. It’s been awesome to be part of a great race team.”

Truex’s 399 Cup starts have been nothing short of an adventure.

In his first Cup start at Atlanta in October of 2004, Truex finished 37th with Dale Earnhardt Inc. In 2006, he began his full-time Cup career with the organization and earned his first career win at Dover International Speedway in June 2007.

Truex moved to Michael Waltrip Racing in 2010 and spent four seasons there, picking up one win. His time there, however, will be remembered for the controversy at Richmond International Raceway surrounding his then teammate, Clint Bowyer. NASCAR deemed Bowyer and MWR manipulated the outcome of the race, which resulted in Truex qualifying for the Chase. When handing down penalties, Truex was removed from the Chase and later lost his sponsor, NAPA during the fallout.

The following year, Truex landed at Furniture Row Racing where he’s been ever since. Truex has picked up five wins with the team and made it all the way to the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season.

In Truex’s 399 starts he has seven wins (five with Furniture Row), 47 top fives, 132 top 10s, 10 poles, 4,051 laps led. Of those laps led, 2,162 have been accumulated since joining Furniture Row Racing.

“We have a great team,” Truex said. “I’m just honestly thankful that I am getting to show my talent, my capabilities behind the wheel and focus on continuing this roll that we’re on, and what it’s going to take to do that, so I don’t take it for granted. I know that in two weeks it could be gone. You just never know in this sport, that’s why I’m living in the moment and enjoying myself. I love working with my race team.”

Follow @KellyCrandall

NASCAR America: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. talks Phoenix finish, racing roots

Leave a comment

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. joins NASCAR America to go over his fourth-place finish at Phoenix Raceway.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver also shares his racing origins in Mississippi and the hobbies he and girlfriend Danica Patrick share with each other.

Stenhouse is in his fifth full-time year competing in the NASCAR Cup Series with Roush Fenway Racing.

NASCAR America: 50 States in 50 Shows: Alaska

Leave a comment

NASCAR America continues its journey through the United States with the second chapter in “50 States in 50 Shows.”

Following South Alabama Speedway, the show features Capitol Speedway and Alaska Raceway Park in Alaska.

Owned by Nancy and Wes Wallace, Capitol Speedway is a 3/8th-mile oval and features sprint car racing and demolition derbies.

 

Kevin Harvick crew chief fined, suspended one race for encumbered finish

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kevin Harvick‘s crew chief, Rodney Childers, has been suspended for one NASCAR Cup Series race and fined $25,000 for an unapproved track bar slider assembly last weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

The penalty, a L1 infraction, results in an encumbered finish. Harvick placed sixth in the Camping World 500.

The No. 4 team has also been docked 10 driver and owner points. Harvick was seventh in the standings after four races. He trailed leader Kyle Larson by 61 points. The loss of points drops Harvick one spot to eighth behind Jamie McMurray.

Harvick has not won a race yet, which would qualify him for the playoffs.

MORE: Brad Keselowski closes crew chief for three races, team docked 35 driver points

 and on Facebook

NASCAR docks Brad Keselowski, Team Penske 35 points; suspends crew chief Paul Wolfe

Leave a comment

NASCAR docked Brad Keselowski 35 points, suspended crew chief Paul Wolfe three races and fined Wolfe $65,000 because Keselowski’s car failed inspection after finishing fifth in last weekend’s race at Phoenix Raceway.

NASCAR also docked the team 35 owner points for the L1 infraction. NASCAR stated that Keselowski’s result is an encumbered finish.

NASCAR cited Keselowski’s car for failing weights and measurements on the laser platform. NASCAR stated in Wednesday’s penalty report that the team failed the rear wheel steer on the Laser Inspection Station. 

MORE: NASCAR suspends crew chief Rodney Childers one race

Team Penske issued a statement Wednesday:

“We have acknowledged the penalties levied against the No. 2 team following last weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.  The race cars returned to the race shop today and we are in the process of evaluating the area in question. In the meantime, we have decided Brian Wilson will serve as Brad Keselowski’s crew chief at Auto Club Speedway while we evaluate our approach relative to today’s penalties.”

The penalty drops Keselowski from second in the standings to fourth heading into this weekend’s race at Auto Club Speedway.

The more significant issue is how this could impact Keselowski, who already has a win, in the playoffs.

The top 10 in points before the playoffs begin earn additional points. The points leader earns 15 playoff points. The driver second in the standings earns 10 playoff points, the driver third in the standings earns eight playoff points, the driver fourth in the standings earns seven playoff points. It goes down to the driver 10th in the standings earning one playoff point.

Those playoff points carry through the first three rounds, which is different from last year. Falling behind in the regular season – or losing points because of a penalty – could have ramifications in the playoffs. 

“I think it’s real important to explain why points matter this year,” Keselowski said on Fox Sports 1’s “Race Hub” on Wednesday night. “Last year, you got a win and you locked in and you got to the next round. This year with points, you still lock in with wins. The difference is there’s a huge points bonus for having the most points at the end of the season that carries all the way through the playoffs, and you only get that bonus if you’re one of the best cars and leading up front at the end of the regular season, which requires having a lot of points. Thirty-five points is a pretty big deal, and so is 10 points for Kevin (Harvick) and his team.”

 

 and on Facebook