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Martin Truex

Martin Truex, Jr.

Martin Lee Truex, Jr. (born June 29, 1980 in Mayetta, New Jersey) is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver. He currently drives the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Impala SS for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Truex won the Nationwide Series Championship in 2004 and 2005.

Early career

Martin was born in Ocean County, New Jersey, and grew up in the Mayetta section of Stafford Township, New Jersey. His father, Martin Sr., was a former race winner in the NASCAR Grand National Division, East Series. Martin Truex, Jr. attended Southern Regional High School.

The younger Truex began racing in the Busch North Series in 2000, and won 5 races in 4 years with a family owned team.

Truex rented a home from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in Mooresville, North Carolina, before he purchased his own home. His cousin, Curtis Truex, Jr., races modifieds at Wall Township Speedway and currently drives late-model stock cars in the southeastern U.S. for JR Motorsports, which is owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Truex made his Busch 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 but finishing 29th. He ran three races the rest of that season for his father, his best finish seventeenth at Dover.

NASCAR career

Camping World Series

In 2000 Martin, following in his fathers footsteps, began racing in the NASCAR Camping World Series, East division (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 Martin claimed 13 poles and 5 wins driving his family owned #56 SeaWatch Chevy.

Nationwide Series

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 Dale Jr. 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 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 Nextel 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. 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 race held 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 1st, 2005.

SPRINT Cup

Truex ran full-time in the 2006 NEXTEL Cup (now SPRINT cup) season in the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. He finished in the top 10 five times and finished the 2006 season 19th in points. Coming off of two consecutive Busch Series championships, Truex was widely considered to be a contender in the NEXTEL Cup Series. However, by his own admission, Truex's 2006 season had been somewhat disappointing. He was behind fellow rookies Denny Hamlin (who finished 3rd in points) and Clint Bowyer (who finished 17th in points). However, at 19th, he still had a respectable position for a rookie driver. Furthermore, Truex had a better later part of the 2006 season. He experienced a turnaround of sorts, finishing 6th, 11th, 5th and 2nd at Dover, Kansas, Talladega and Homestead, respectively. In 2006, he also made six starts in the Busch Series for Earnhardt, winning at Talladega.

2007

On May 19, 2007, Martin won the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Open, securing a spot in the 2007 Nextel All-Star Challenge, where he finished 10th.

On June 4, 2007, Martin Truex Jr. won the Autism Speaks 400 scoring his first NEXTEL Cup Series win with an interval of seven seconds between himself and pole sitter Ryan Newman. Truex Jr. 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 the impending departure of Dale Earnhardt Jr. he will be the senior driver for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in 2008, which is now a five-driver, four-car team, with Mark Martin and Aric Almirola alternating in the #8, in addition to the other two teams.

With a 15th place finish in the Chevy Rock and Roll 400, Truex clinched a spot in his first Chase for the Nextel Cup.

At the end of the 2007 season, he finished 11th in points finshing just outside the exclusive top 10.

2008

Martin Truex, Jr., will be piloting the number 5 Chevrolet from JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series for selected races. His main focus will be Sprint Cup and the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy.

The 2008 season has been somewhat of a disappointment for Martin Truex Jr. DEI's engine problems, which plagued Dale Earnhardt Jr's team in 2007, has continued to wreak havoc on the team. During the Samsung 500, Truex Jr. blew his engine and finished 36th. To make matters even worse, Truex's longtime crew chief, Kevin "Bono" Manion, was suspended after the roof of Truex's car did not meet the required templates. Manion was suspended for six races and placed on probation. Both team and driver lost 150 points and were fined $100,000.

Career SPRINT Cup Statistics

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 70 Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
2005 7 0 0 0 1 5 26.7 20.1 $929,028 47 Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
2006 36 0 0 2 5 5 20.8 21.2 $4,759,248 19 Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
2007 36 1 1 7 14 4 16.4 15.2 $5,979,549 11 Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
2008 27 0 0 3 8 2 16.8 18.6 $3,503,511 15 Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
Totals 108 1 1 12 28 18 18.9 18.7 $15,287,486
Data as of September 19, 2008

References

External links

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