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2016 Season In Review: Martin Truex Jr.

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Martin Truex Jr.

CREW CHIEF: Cole Pearn

TEAM: Furniture Row Racing

POINTS: 11th

WINS: 4 (Charlotte I, Darlington, Chicago, Dover II)

LAPS LED: 1,809 (more than three times his previous highs of 581 laps in 2007 and 567 in 2015)

TOP 5s: 8 (tied for career best in 2015)

TOP 10s: 17 (third-best in his career – had 22 top-10s in 2015 and 19 in 2012)

POLES: 5 (Kansas I, Charlotte I, Pocono II, Talladega II, Martinsville II)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Truex had an outstanding season, following up on the great year he had in 2015. He earned a career-high four wins (never had more than one win in any previous season), scored a single season career-best five poles, made the Chase for the second consecutive season and had a career-best single season starting average (9.1) … The highlight of the year was his win in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, leading a record 392 of 400 laps.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Truex had a number of pit road issues – mistakes both by himself (like speeding) and his crew, as well as questionable strategy calls – that likely cost him either additional wins or higher finishes. … When the Chase began, Truex appeared ready to once again reach the Championship 4 round like he did in 2015. As it turned out, he failed to advance past the second round. … Also had four DNFs, including three in the last five Chase races.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2017: Truex and Furniture Row Racing have finally established themselves as significant powers and threats to win in virtually every race. And that’s solely as a one-car team. That changes in 2017 when FRR expands to two teams with the addition of phenom and 2015 Camping World Truck Series champion, Erik Jones. Having a teammate will only make Truex better, and the organization’s ongoing technical relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing will continue to pay greater dividends.

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NASCAR America: Kyle Busch questions Xfinity rules package at Indy

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Kyle Busch isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and he certainly did so after Saturday’s  Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

NASCAR implemented a number of changes to make the racing closer, tighter and more exciting — including restrictor plates, a larger rear spoiler, aero ducts, and a smaller splitter — and achieved all that on many fronts.

But not for the younger Busch brother, who wasn’t pleased with the rules package. Was it actually designed to specifically slow him down rather than to even out things for the entire field?

Or was he just simply upset because he didn’t win a third Xfinity race in a row at IMS?

Check out how our NASCAR America analysts gauged the Xfinity changes in the above video.


TriStar Motorsports team owner Mark Smith passes away

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Mark Smith, owner of TriStar Motorsports, died Saturday at his home, after a long battle with cancer, the team announced Monday. He was 63.

He began his racing career building engines for his brother Jack’s drag car in the 1970s. He moved his family from the West Coast in the early 1990s to pursue a career in NASCAR. He was the owner of TriStar Motorsports and Pro Motor Engines.

TriStar Motorsports fields the No. 14 in the Xfinty Series with JJ Yeley and the No. 72 in the Cup Series with Cole Whitt. The team stated the team will continue operations under the management of Bryan Smith, son of Mark Smith.

“It was dad’s dream to own and operate a NASCAR team,” Bryan Smith said. “He devoted his life to that dream and his family plans to honor his wishes by continuing our efforts in his memory.”

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Victory Junction Gang victoryjunction.org or NOVA (National Organization for Vehicle Access, part of the BraunAbility) novafunding.org.

The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. ET, Aug. 1 at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, North Carolina. They have created a Facebook page where you are encouraged to leave a story for the family to enjoy. (facebook.com/Remembering-Mark-Smith-301261653675224)

NASCAR America: Analysts break down Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. wreck (video)

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Given how wild the Brickyard 400 played out, the big wreck between race leaders Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. wasn’t exactly surprising.

Rather, with the way the race transpired from the opening lap, was the Busch/Truex wreck almost inevitable?

Truex got loose and washed up into the left rear of Busch’s car, sending both drivers and their respective cars into the outside retaining walls, hitting hard and ending their respective days.

Check out what our NASCAR America analysts had to say about the wreck from Monday’s show in the above video.

NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr. recaps wild Brickyard 400 (video)

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On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, Dale Earnhardt Jr. — who will become part of our NBC Sports Group in 2018 — looked back on a wild and intense Brickyard 400.

Earnhardt was one of several drivers whose day came to an early ending — in Junior’s case when he ran into the back of Trevor Bayne‘s car, destroying his radiator in the process.

All the mayhem and mishaps could be linked to over-aggressive driving, Earnhardt said, saying that every driver was in “attack mode,” especially on restarts.

Check out Junior in the video above.