Consistent Truex Takes Home Second East Title
Two seasons, two championships. Not a bad line for a driver that had piloted a full-bodied race car only a handful of times prior to joining NASCAR's top developmental series.
Following in the footsteps of his father and elder brother, Ryan Truex joined the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East full-time in 2009 at the age of 17 with the newly-formed Michael Waltrip Racing development program. In the 21 races since, he found Victory Lane five times and finished in the top 10 in a remarkable 17 outings to clinch back-to-back series championships.
Unlike his rookie and first title campaign, Truex's sophomore season was consistent from start-to-finish. It took Truex three races in 2009 to get comfortable in the No. 00 MWR Toyota before he closed with a fury, but he was a title contender from the season's first green flag in 2010.
The latest of Mayetta, New Jersey's first family of racing, Truex had already accomplished something prior to this year that neither his father, Martin Sr., or sibling, Marin Jr., had done during their K&N Pro Series East careers: win a championship. This year he wanted to add to the family's success at New Hampshire Motor Speedway by reaching Victory Lane. The result was a season sweep at the "Magic Mile."
In addition to his New Hampshire wins, Truex finished in the top five six additional times during the 10 race schedule. He led in seven of the events for a series-high 255 laps, and was the only driver to complete all 1,440 circuits the K&N Pro Series East contested.
Truex did not go unchallenged in his repeat bid, but each time he was able to rise to the occasion. Spun on the last lap while contending for a win in the opener at Greenville Pickens Speedway, he kept it on the lead lap and salvaged 14th place. Wrecked while he led late in the race at Gresham Motorsports Park, Truex brought it home eighth to retain the points lead with just two races left. A season-low qualifying effort that had him starting 16th in his first appearance at Lee USA Speedway, Truex just missed winning the race.
For the second year in a row, all of Truex's success came under the watchful eye and tutelage of crew chief Mike Greci. An accomplished veteran of NASCAR's touring ranks, Greci was crew chief for Truex's older brother when he was in the K&N Pro Series East in the early 2000's, and prior to that he also won back-to-back East titles with driver Mike Stefanik in 1997-98.
Owner's Title ^a This will be the first NASCAR championship trophy with Michael Waltrip's name on it as a car owner. MWR investor Rob Kaufmann was recognized as the owner during Truex's 2009 title run, although Waltrip was the face of the team during his organizations first championship season.
Manufacturer's Championship ^a The unofficial K&N Pro Series East manufacturer's title will go to Toyota for the second straight year. In addition to the two wins for series titlist Truex, Joe Gibbs Racing's Max Gresham and Brett Moffitt netted two wins apiece to give Toyota six victories versus four for Chevrolet.
The Event: NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala
The Place: Charlotte Convention Center - Crown Ballroom
The Date: Saturday, Dec. 11
The Time: 7 p.m. ET
Awards Gala Set In Hall Of Fame
NASCAR will honor its 'stars of tomorrow' and short-track veterans by gathering them in the greater Charlotte (N.C.) area for two special year-end celebrations.
NASCARwill 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.
Fans throughout the U.S., Canada, and around the globe, will again be able to watch the festivities from both nights via a live webcast on nascarhometracks.com.
"With the recent opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, this is a tremendous opportunity to honor the top drivers throughout NASCAR's developmental series in a most appropriate setting: the showcase of our sport's history," said George Silbermann, NASCAR managing director of racing operations.
"The week-long schedule of special activities for our champions, track promoters and industry members will put the spotlight on the important series and tracks that make up NASCAR's foundation. We are especially pleased to be able to bring the events from both nights to fans everywhere - who have followed their favorite drivers all season at their favorite tracks - through the NASCAR Home Tracks website."
In addition to the new NASCAR Hall of Fame complex, the region is the home of the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C., as well as a majority of today's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams.
The NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala will feature the series champions and top drivers from NASCAR's regional touring series including invitees from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, and the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1.
The Westin Charlotte will be the host hotel for both awards banquets.
NKNPS East Notebook: Season Wrap-Up
Wallace Earns Rookie Honors - On the strength of a pair of wins and seven top 10s, Darrell Wallace Jr. edged Cole Whitt by one point for the 2010 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award. Wallace finished third in the final overall season standings during his first season, which was highlighted by wins at Greenville Pickens Speedway and Lee USA Speedway.
Moffitt Nabs Pole Award - A four-way tie for the season Coors Light Pole Award went to Brett Moffitt as the highest finisher of the group in the season standings. Moffitt earned the poles at both races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and set the track record in the fall event. Max Gresham, Kevin Swindell and Cole Whitt also captured two poles during the season.
Brannon, Swindell Get Improvement Awards - The Coca-Cola Move of the Race and Featherlite Most Improved Driver season awards went to Drew Brannon and Swindell, respectively. Although Brannon only had three starts, he led all drivers with two Coca-Cola Awards. Ten drivers earned one Featherlite Award apiece, but the season honor went to Swindell as the highest-ranking of the group in the final standings.
Truex Takes Lap Leader Award - K&N Pro Series East Champion Ryan Truex will take home plenty of hardware at the NASCAR awards weekend, including the season Wix Filters Lap Leader Award. Truex was a three-time winner of the award during the season when he led a series-high 255 laps.
Wallace Makes History - The season-opening win for Wallace at Greenville Pickens was historical on two fronts. At 16 years, five months and 19 days, he became the youngest race winner in K&N Pro Series East history, and also the first African-American to take the checkered flag.
Moffitt, Dillon Get Inaugural Race Wins - Sophomore drivers Moffitt and Ty Dillon also registered historical wins during the 2010 season. Moffitt earned the Grandfather Clock at the inaugural K&N Pro Series East stand-alone event at Martinsville Speedway while Dillon took the checkered flag in the series' first trip to Gresham Motorsports Park.
Gresham, Ranger Get First Wins - In addition to Dillon and Wallace, Gresham and Andrew Ranger also became first-time race winners in 2010. Gresham took the checkers at South Boston Speedway and the East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway while Ranger dominated at Lime Rock Park.
Stepping Up - Full-time drivers Truex, Swindell and Whitt made the move up for multiple NASCAR Nationwide Series starts in 2010. Whitt and Eddie MacDonald also made their NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debuts.
Looking Ahead - The recently released 2011 schedule will feature four new tracks and an additional two races. Bowman Gray Stadium, Columbus Motor Speedway, Langley Speedway and Richmond International Raceway will hold inaugural events next year. Greenville Pickens has added a second race while Dover, Gresham, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Boston will retain their dates.
Up Next: NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown
The 2011 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, the sport's premier short-track racing showcase, will return to the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) on Jan. 28-29.
The eighth running of the event, which brings together the top racers from across North America and has grown into the "Daytona 500 of short-track racing," will be highlighted by the 225-lap NASCAR K&N Pro Series all-star race.
The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown main event is broken up into three sections - two 100-lap segments preceding a 25-lap dash to the finish. Last year, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Joey Logano became just the second driver to win two Showdowns when he held off a furious challenge over the closing laps from 17-year-old Sergio Pena, who was made his series debut for Revolution Racing/Drive for Diversity in the event.
The race features secured starting spots for the 2010 champions of NASCAR's touring series and race winners of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series from the 2010 season.
Three time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West winner Eric Holmes and back-to-back K&N Pro Series East titlist Ryan Truex headline the list of 2010 champions. DJ Kennington (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1), Bobby Santos (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), Burt Myers (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour), German Quiroga (NASCAR Mexico Series) and Keith Rocco (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series) also have guaranteed spots in the show.
The K&N Pro Series race winners who earned secured starting positions include: Ty Dillon, Max Gresham, Paulie Harraka, Erik Holmes, Patrick Long, David Mayhew, Brett Moffitt, Andrew Ranger, Greg Pursley, Auggie Vidovich, and Darrell Wallace Jr.
The schedule also includes a 75-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model race and a 50-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model contest. The top five NASCACR state champions in attendance will have secured starting spots in the Late Model race. New to this year, the 25-car fields for each of those races will be set by a pair of heat races - 25 laps for the the Super Late Models and 20 laps for the Late Models.
Both nights of racing will air live on SPEED as part of full weekend of racing on SPEED that includes the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series' Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown main event - contested in NASCAR K&N Pro Series cars - is open to any driver approved to drive on half-mile or longer tracks in the K&N Pro Series.
Current national series drivers such as Logano, Ricky Carmichael, Brian Ickler, Trevor Bayne, Matt Crafton, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Justin Lofton have competed in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.