Martz Makes Strong Showing in First Truck Series Race On a night when Toyotas dominated the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Race, Justin Martz driving the ...
Martz Makes Strong Showing in First Truck Series Race
On a night when Toyotas dominated the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Race, Justin Martz driving the #07 Chevy of Green Light Racing made an impressive Truck Series debut in the Ram Tough 200 at Gateway International Raceway Saturday evening. Justin had three goals going in to the race: finish the race, place in the top twenty and bring the truck home in one piece -- lofty goals for a driver in his first truck race.
The day had an inauspicious start. Steady rain blanketed the track until after noon forcing the cancellation of all three of the scheduled practice sessions. When it looked like the rain would finally let up NASCAR canceled race qualification so that the drivers could get some practice time on the track. The last time NASCAR canceled qualifying for the Truck Series due to weather was at Indianapolis Raceway Park on August 5, 2005. With qualifying canceled starting positions were assigned based on owner points placing Justin all the way back in the 23rd starting position.
Sixty laps into the race Martz's hopes of bringing the truck home in one piece were nearly shattered when Mike Skinner cut down a tire, hit the wall, and bounced back out on to the track. The two drivers in front of Martz, rookies Kyle Krisiloff and Marcos Ambrose, piled in to Skinner. With no where to go, Martz received some slight front end damage but was able to continue on. Skinner, Krisiloff, and Ambrose were all forced to leave the race due to extensive damage to their trucks. After several trips through his pit during the long caution, Martz's truck was drivable but he was at theend of the field. Martz continued trying to fight his way back through the pack and although his truck was handling poorly he took advantage of a record thirteen cautions to move all the way back up to the twentieth position by the end of the race.
At one point Justin went down a lap to the leader but he was the recipient of the Lucky Dog award at the next caution and moved back onto the lead lap where he finished the race.
"With the problems we had with the truck all night long, I was really happy to be able to stay on the lead lap" stated Martz. "A number of trucks were ending up laps down and we just kept trying to maintain our position. We knew we definitely were not fast enough to race with the leaders." "Justin did a great job in taking that truck to the top twenty" said Bobby Dotter of Green Light Racing. "He kept his head when there were wrecks all around him and really ran a strong race."
Todd Bodine was the race winner with all top five spots being captured by Toyotas.