Daytona II: Martin Truex Jr race report

Truex Survives "Crazy" Race to Finish 17th at Daytona Daytona Beach, Fla. (July 6, 2008) -- Daytona International Speedway is know for its three-wide racing and dramatic finishes -- Saturday's Coke Zero 400 was no exception. Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Truex Survives "Crazy" Race to Finish 17th at Daytona

Daytona Beach, Fla. (July 6, 2008) -- Daytona International Speedway is know for its three-wide racing and dramatic finishes -- Saturday's Coke Zero 400 was no exception.

Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver Martin Truex Jr. survived all of the late-race mayhem to come home 17th.

Truex started the race in the 35th position after qualifying in his backup car. The primary No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Swing Vote Chevrolet was confiscated by NASCAR for not fitting the organization's templates on Thursday. The crew readied the backup car while the rest of the teams were practicing. Truex planned to get on the track during the day's second practice, but rain forced the cancellation of the second and final session.

"I'm proud of the guys for getting the backup car this good," said Truex. "The only time I got to drive it was during qualifying, but it was really good during the race. I think we could have easily been a top-10 car."

Truex made contact with Denny Hamlin on lap 136, who in turn made contact with Ryan Newman, sending both cars spinning. Truex's car sustained damage on the left rear quarter panel, but Truex told crew chief Kevin "Bono" Manion that he didn't want to pit because he didn't feel that the damage was severe enough to slow his car.

The race restarted on lap 139 and Truex immediately noticed the difference in his car's performance.

"This thing is a handful," radioed Truex. "Sorry about that. I should've come down pit road when we had the chance."

"Don't worry about it," Manion replied. "Just do the best you can with it."

Truex got another chance to have his car repaired when the caution flag came out for the ninth time, this time for an incident involving Boris Said. The Bass Pro Shops team repaired the damage to their driver's car and put on four new Goodyear tires.

The race restarted on lap 152, only to have the caution flag appear five laps later for another multi-car accident which set up the green-white-checkered finish.

The excitement wasn't over yet. Jeff Gordon spun down to the infield grass on lap 161 but the race stayed green. The field was coming through Turn 1 when another multi-car wreck brought out the race's 11th caution period. Truex made it through the carnage and,

after a review of the final lap by NASCAR officials, was credited with the 17th finishing position.

NASCAR also ruled that Kyle Busch was ahead of Carl Edwards when the caution came out, and Busch was awarded the victory.

"That was absolutely some of the craziest racing I have ever seen," Truex said. "I'm usually not happy with finishing 17th, but I'm just lucky that we were able to bring the car home in one piece."

Truex is 14th in 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup driver points, 88 points out of 12th.

-credit: dei

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup