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NASCAR Cup: Martin Truex Jr. hits career-milestone at Richmond Raceway

FONTANA, CA – MARCH 18: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 18, 2018 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Martin Truex Jr.’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup career will hit the 450-start mark at the same track it seemed to begin to fall apart about four-and-a-half years ago — Richmond (Va.) Raceway. He’ll hit the milestone Saturday night when he takes the green flag for the Toyota Owners 400.

“That’s crazy how time flies,” Truex said. “Just seems like yesterday we were making preparations to run our first Cup races. I feel fortunate to be competing at the highest level of stock car racing; thanks to everyone who has helped and supported my career along the way. I am still having plenty of fun and feel I have more good years left in me.”

Truex became a full-time Cup Series driver in 2006 when he was promoted by Dale Earnhardt Inc. after two-consecutive championships in the NASCAR Busch (now-Xfinity Series). He won his first top-level race with DEI in 2007 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. He posted one other win before joining his current racing home, Furniture Row Racing, winning at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in 2013 during his four-year stint at Michael Waltrip Racing that ended at the end of that season.

Seemingly shady efforts by Truex’s then-teammates at Richmond Raceway in September 2013 to get him into the playoffs included a supposed itchy arm that sent Clint Bowyer into a spin to bring out a caution and an oddly-timed trip down pit road for Brian Vickers. The end results included Truex still not getting into the playoffs and his sponsor NAPA pulling its support of Michael Waltrip Racing. With NAPA gone, so was Truex.

MWR closed its doors a couple of years later, but by that time Truex was at Furniture Row Racing and experiencing the most success of his career. Since Truex joined FRR, that race team also has experienced its best success. After struggling in their first year together, 2014, Truex claimed a second-career win, the third for Furniture Row Racing, at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., in 2014. Then, in 2016, the driver/team pairing really took off. Truex and company won four times in 2016 — the first multi-win season for both driver and team. The next year was even better, as Truex won a series-leading eight races and a first Cup Series championship.

“It’s been a good ride so far, especially the past couple of years,” Truex said. “I am surrounded with a talented and committed team. We all feel the same — once you taste a championship you want to taste it again and again.”

The success is continuing in 2018. Eight races into the season, Truex has a win, coming in March at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

In all, Truex has 16-career wins in his first 449 starts. His career stats also include 72 top-fives and 165 top-10 finishes.

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Posted by on April 19, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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