Truex In Position For Title Repeat At Dover Despite the recognizable last name, Ryan Truex made an unheralded debut in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway as a fill-in driver for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the 2008...
Truex In Position For Title Repeat At Dover
Despite the recognizable last name, Ryan Truex made an unheralded debut in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway as a fill-in driver for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the 2008 season finale.
Combine the 11th-place debut at Stafford with the first three outings of his first full season in 2009 with Michael Waltrip Racing, and the youngest of the racing Truex family had an average finish of 15th. Truex has not finished as low as 15th in any of the 17 races since.
Perhaps the single most important factor in any championship run is consistency, a characteristic that Truex is about to ride to a second-consecutive K&N Pro Series East title. In the 17 races since the only DNF of his career - the East/West combination race at Iowa Speedway - Truex has won five times and finished outside the top five in only three instances. His average finish since the misfortune at Iowa: fourth.
As the 2010 season comes to a close at Dover International Speedway on Friday, Sept. 24, all Truex will need to do is take the green flag to secure a second-consecutive K&N Pro Series East championship. A last-place finish at Dover would net Truex 1,570 points for the season while his lone challenger - Darrell Wallace Jr. - could only earn a maximum of 1,569 points in the race, should he win and lead the most laps.
It was in this race a year ago where Truex became the first member of his family to earn a K&N Pro Series East crown. His father, Martin Sr., was a long-time competitor in the series and his older brother, Martin Jr., ran the series for four seasons while moving up the NASCAR ladder. In last year's event, however, Truex had much more on the line as Eddie MacDonald was nipping at his heels in the standings.
The 2009 Sunoco 150 saw Truex bring in just a 30-point lead on MacDonald, which resulted in the No. 00 MWR Toyota team putting forth a competitive, albeit cautious, effort to secure the title. In the 2010 edition, with Truex needing only to take the green flag to clinch, expect the MWR development driver to lay it all on the line for a victory in his swan song in the K&N Pro Series East.
While his plans for 2011 are far from settled, it is likely that Dover will be Truex's last start in the series. Sure to be compared with his older brother the rest of his racing career, Ryan earned his fifth career win in his 21st start last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway while it took Martin Jr. 60 races to nab his fifth win. Ryan is also about to secure his second K&N Pro Series East title while Martin Jr.'s best points finish was eighth in 2001. Ryan will not be the first in his family to earn back-to-back NASCAR titles, however. Martin Jr. was the 2004-05 Nationwide Series champion.
The younger Truex will also not be in uncharted territory as far as back-to-back champions in the K&N Pro Series East. Five other drivers have done it previously, but none while they were still in their teenage years.
Perhaps there is one more thing to accomplish in his brief career: a win at the "Monster Mile." Ryan finished eighth last year, and has one final opportunity to one-up his older brother with a Dover win, something that Martin Jr. didn't accomplish until he moved on to the Nationwide Series.
The Race: Sunoco 150
The Place: Dover (Del.) International Speedway
The Date: Friday, Sept. 24
The Time: 4:45 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: SPEED, Oct. 7, 6 p.m. ET
Track Layout: 1.058-mile paved oval
Race Purse: $223,202
2009 Winner: Brett Moffitt
2009 Polesitter: Matt DiBenedetto
9/23: Practice 2-3 p.m.; Final Practice 3:50-5 p.m.;
9/24: Qualifying 10:15 a.m.
The Race - The Sunoco 150 at Dover International Speedway is the final event of the 10-race 2010 schedule for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. This will be the 10th all-time standalone race for the East at Dover.
The Procedure - The starting field is 30 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will have secured starting positions based on two-lap qualifying. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (150 miles).
The Track - Known as the "Monster Mile," Dover is a one-mile concrete oval with banking of nine degrees on the straightaways and 24 degrees in the turns.
Race Winners - In the nine previous K&N Pro Series East races at Dover, there has yet to be a driver who has recorded more than one victory. Matt Kobyluck (2002) and Brett Moffitt (2009) are the only previous winners that are entered for this year's race.
Pole Winners - As with race winners, there has yet to be a driver that has earned multiple poles at Dover. No previous pole winner is entered for this race so the trend of first-timers will continue in 2010. Matt DiBenedetto has the qualifying record at 23.201 seconds (155.166 mph), established in 2009.
Prior History - The K&N Pro Series East competed in 10 races at Dover from 1987-1992 when it was called the Busch North Series. These were combination races with the NASCAR Nationwide Series (then known as the Busch Series) in which competitors designated the series they wished to earn points for at the time of entry.
The Best Of The Rest While the Sunoco 150 will be a coronation for Ryan Truex, there are plenty of other teams that turned in championship-worthy efforts in 2010. Here's a look back at the seasons of Darrell Wallace Jr., Brett Moffitt and Cole Whitt.
Darrell Wallace Jr. The most successful of the four cars that have competed out of the Revolution Racing garage, Wallace got his rookie campaign off to a booming start by winning in his series debut at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway. In the process, he became the first African-American to win in the K&N Pro Series East. Wallace has registered top 10s in seven of nine races - including five top fives - and added a second win at Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway midseason. He trailed Truex by just 33 points with three races left, but has suffered late-race accidents in the last two outings.
Brett Moffitt Moffitt'ssuccess as a rookie in 2009 was hard to top, but after wrecking in two of the first three races in 2010, he's consistently marched toward the top of the standings. Moffitt's sophomore season was highlighted by a win at Martinsville Speedway and a pair of top fives at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Cole Whitt A true rookie like Wallace, Whitt won the pole in his series debut and led in points after two races. It was tough to recover from two midseason DNFs, but Whitt has recorded four-straight top fives to close out his first season of stock car racing.
A tight race coming in, Wallace and Whitt will battle for 2010 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the season finale at Dover International Speedway.
Patrick Set To Run With East At Dover Famed open-wheel driver Danica Patrick will continue her stock car foray at Dover International Speedway as she has added the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Sunoco 150 to her weekend schedule.
Patrick will pilot the JR Motorsports No. 83 Chevrolet in her K&N Pro Series East debut. Tony Eury Jr. will serve as the crew chief, same as in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, where she has six starts in her first season of NASCAR competition. Patrick's best finish in those starts was 24th at Chicagoland Speedway in July.
Patrick will follow her effort in Friday's Sunoco 150 with the Nationwide Series Dover 200 on Saturday.
Prior to Dover Patrick competed in the IZOD IndyCar Series Indy Japan 300 on Sunday, Sept. 19. She finished fifth.
Race Review: Truex Takes NHMS Track Title The ninth race of 10 on the 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule was a return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the New Hampshire 126 on Friday, Sept. 17.
Truex Sweeps Loudon Races - Ryan Truex became the third driver in the last four years, but just the fourth overall, to sweep the season at New Hampshire. Truex, who also won the New England 125 in June, led a race-high 49 laps and took much of the suspense of the 2010 title hunt by winning again in the New Hampshire 125.
Moffitt Runner-Up Despite Illness - Under the weather after earning his third career 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Light on Thursday, Brett Moffitt spent the entire night in a hospital. He was able to gain clearance to race on Friday, however, and piloted the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 to a runner-up finish. It was also a sweep of sorts for Moffitt at New Hampshire in 2010, as he also won the pole in June.
Anton Ties Career Best - A veteran of six seasons, Jeff Anton tied his previous career-best finish with a third-place effort. Anton matched his third place at Lime Rock Park in 2007, and established a new career-best effort at New Hampshire. Combined with his finish in the previous race at Gresham Motorsports Park, Anton took home the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award at Loudon.
Paludo Has a Career Day - In just his eighth series start, Miguel Paludo turned in a career-best effort when he crossed the line fourth. After starting 26th, the Brazilian took home the Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award as well as the Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award.
LaJoie, Tardiff Wreck While Contending for First Win - With less than three laps to go, it looked as if either Corey LaJoie or Alan Tardiff would be celebrating their first K&N Pro Series East win in Victory Lane on the series' biggest stage. Instead, they both left the track disappointed. On Lap 123 LaJoie washed up the track coming out of Turn 3 and into race leader Tardiff. Tardiff ended up wrecked out in 25th. LaJoie was able to return to the track and finished 13th. Truex, who was a distant third at the time of the accident, then capitalized on the misfortune to earn his second win of the year.
Last Chance To Vote
Just like the racing season, voting for the 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Most Popular Driver of the Year will conclude on Friday, Sept. 24.
Fans can visit www.nascarhometracks.com and vote for their favorite driver for the 2010 Most Popular Driver of the Year NASCAR's regional touring series - the K&N Pro Series East and West, Whelen Modified Tour, Whelen Southern Modified Tour, Mexico Series and Canadian Tire Series.
Fans may vote or submit a write-in candidate once per day.
Up Next: Night of Champions Gala
NASCAR will return to Charlotte with a special week of activities culminating with the 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet on Friday, Dec. 10 and the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala on Saturday, Dec. 11. The banquets will be held at the Charlotte Convention Center's Crown Ballroom in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala will feature the series champions and top drivers from NASCAR's regional touring series.
Fans throughout the U.S. and Canada, and around the globe, will again be able to watch the festivities from both nights via a live webcast on nascarhometracks.com.
The Westin Charlotte will be the host hotel for both awards banquets.