Martin Truex, Jr.'s freshman year in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series hasn't been the success the 25-year-old New Jersey native anticipated. After ruling the Busch series for two years, winning back-to- back titles in 2004 and 2005, Truex was...
Martin Truex, Jr.'s freshman year in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series hasn't been the success the 25-year-old New Jersey native anticipated. After ruling the Busch series for two years, winning back-to- back titles in 2004 and 2005, Truex was trumpeted as the next big splash in the NASCAR Cup pond.
But, so far, he hasn't made a ripple.
"It has definitely been a little bit of a wake-up call as tough as it has been on us," explained Truex. "The guys are working real hard building cars all the time and trying to make them better. We're still learning a lot from the 8 team, they've been running real well and doing an awful lot of things.
"We're just trying to learn what we need to do to run good."
Truex has just one top-ten finish in 12 starts and sits 23rd in series points. Truex is also being squashed in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year competition, sitting fifth in a field of seven drivers.
"I knew coming in what it was going to be," Truex explained of the Rookie program. "I knew I wasn't going to be running in the top five every weekend and having a shot to win every race like I was (in Busch). I was realistic in my approach.
"It's humbled me a lot, that is for sure."
After running a partial schedule for Chance2 Motorsports from 2001 through 2003, Truex went full time for Dale, Jr. and Teresa Earnhardt's Busch team in 2004. He scored six win in 2004 and 2005 and won the Busch series championship in both of his full time seasons.
His winning ways in the Busch series prompted the Earnhardts to put him behind the wheel of a Cup series car this season. He pilots the No. 1 Bass Pro Shop Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated.
While Earnhardt, Jr.'s team has been on an upswing this season, the No. 1 team has struggled to find their footing at NASCAR's top level. With Dover and Pocono being the two tracks closest to Truex's hometown of Mayetta, NJ - there is not better time than now to start turning his season around.
"It's the perfect place for us to come and get our season back on track," Truex said of Dover. "It's always good to come back to a place you are familiar with. I have a lot of good memories from this place and a lot of people come here to watch me. It makes it extra special when we do good, and a perfect place for us to come and kind of get our season back on track."
Truex has two Busch series wins at Dover, a track he has oft heralded as his favorite on the circuit. He will take the green flag from the 21st spot.