News & Media


Truex seeking to change string of 'crummy luck'

May 14, 2011, Mark Aumann, NASCAR.com

DOVER, Del. -- It isn't just that bad luck seems to be tagging along behind Martin Truex Jr. like a stray dog this season. It's almost as if the gremlins are reveling in his misfortune.

He's led at least one lap in seven of the 10 races so far this season but has little to show for it, other than being mired in 20th in the points. He crashed hard at Martinsville when a piece of debris caused his throttle cable to jam. He crashed hard at Texas after a pit road error snowballed into a decision to take two tires. A loose tire at Richmond -- found out later to be caused by a broken brake rotor -- killed his chances of a good finish there.

"I feel like we're getting better each week. We're getting close, we're knocking on the door. I know the finishes don't show it, but we're getting close to having a shot at winning one of these things."

--MARTIN TRUEX JR.

"Some of it's our own fault. Some of it's just crummy luck," Truex said. "What can you do but go on? Those weeks are behind us. The important thing is that we're moving forward. Everybody's building good race cars. We're concentrating on making them even better. And I feel like it's gotta turn around sooner or later."

It's been one thing after another for Truex in 2011, who finally seemed to get a break last weekend at Darlington. He finished 10th despite spinning out on pit road early on, only his second top-10 finish of the year.

"Darlington was a really good turnaround race for us," Truex said. "We had some trouble. Some things happened. I screwed up getting on pit road. The car went away about midway through the race. We got really tight. And at the end, we got the car better and we made a race out of it.

"Without those last couple of cautions, we were going to finish 15th or 16th. To be able to come back, get a top 10 after the way things have been going, it was kind of a 'pat yourself on the back because we made something out of it' moment."

And that leads Truex to Dover International Speedway, scene of his lone Cup victory in 2007. Last year, he won the pole in the spring and started third in the fall, so he knows what it's like to run up front at the Monster Mile.

"This is a good place for us to come to," Truex said. "I've had a lot of success here and I really enjoy it here. This place has always been special to me and this would be a great place to just turn it around. The good part is each week we have fast cars and I'm excited to go to the race track."

After Friday's practice session, Truex was happy with his ride. He was seventh-fastest in the first practice -- turning a quick lap of 157.632 mph -- and 29th in the second. With qualifying rained out Saturday, he will start eighth and believes his car is fast enough to be competitive.

"We started in race trim, then we did some qualifying stuff," Truex said. "The car seems good. I felt like we were really good here in the fall, had some trouble on pit road and took us out of the race.

"Our cars have been really fast lately. I'm having fun and the guys have been doing a really good job with them. Hopefully this weekend, we'll get things kind of rolling again, and hopefully, this weekend, we'll be able to improve on that."

The key to being fast at Dover, according to Truex, is adjusting to the ever-changing concrete surface.

"You've got to understand where the track's going to go when it gets rubber on it," Truex said. "You've got to have a good race car. Understanding what you need is half the battle. The other half is getting it to do what you need it to do."

Now it's a matter of getting finishes that match how Truex has run throughout the race. Darlington might have finally been the tipping point for a team that would be more than happy to send bad luck packing.

" We've been doing the opposite," Truex said. "We've been making bad finishes out of good race cars. To turn that around and go the other way was a good confidence builder for our whole team.

"I feel like we're getting better each week. We're getting close, we're knocking on the door. I know the finishes don't show it, but we're getting close to having a shot at winning one of these things."