BUSCH: Nashville: Martin Truex Jr - NASCAR spotlight

Reigning series champion Truex Jr.'s quiet season primed to get louder DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 22, 2005) -- Despite his historic win in Mexico City, a fourth-place finish to open the year at Daytona and a solid 11th-place result last week at...

Reigning series champion Truex Jr.'s quiet season primed to get louder

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 22, 2005) -- Despite his historic win in Mexico City, a fourth-place finish to open the year at Daytona and a solid 11th-place result last week at Atlanta, Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet), the reigning NASCAR Busch Series champion, has been under the radar in the early stages of the season.

And that's just fine with him.

"It was like this last year," said Truex. "It's a real comfortable position to be in, to not always be under everybody's microscope. So far everything's been going okay."

As quiet as his success has been thus far, however, Saturday's race at Nashville Superspeedway could offer Truex a chance to make some noise -- as in the victor's Sam Bass-designed Gibson guitar trophy.

Truex swept the Busch Pole for both Nashville races last season, and set a qualifying mark (166.515 mph) for the April event. He was forced to the rear of the field after moving to a backup car following an accident during final practice and finished a disappointing 23rd. However, he rebounded with a second-place finish in the June race and never looked back en route to his series title.

"Last year I made my biggest mistake ever in racing," Truex said. "We'd just gotten the pole and we were fastest in practice, but with about 15 minutes left, I pushed it a little too much and smashed the Turn Four wall, destroying the best car we had in the Chance 2 stable. The backup car wasn't that good; it was by far the worst weekend we had last season. But in the second race there, we won the pole and finished second, so I feel very confident going into Nashville this weekend."

A preseason favorite to repeat as series champion, Truex knows that expectation will be difficult to manage, especially with the fast start by the likes of Carl Edwards (No. 60 Charter Communications Ford), the current points leader who is fresh off his NASCAR Busch Series/NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series sweep at Atlanta. Truex and Edwards are the only drivers who have started every NASCAR Busch Series race thus far this season to record a win and to complete every lap.

Is this a rivalry in the making?

"Last year before the season began, we knew the 60 car was going to be tough," Truex said. "Greg Biffle (driver of the No. 60 in 2004) would have been in the championship battle with Kyle Busch and me if he hadn't experienced engine troubles.

"I'd like to think it will be a pretty close battle this year, but I think it's going to be more than that," he said. "I think it's going to be four or five guys at the end. I'd like to think we'd be one of them, but we've got some things to work on. Obviously, they're off to a fast start [and] we're going to need to work hard to catch [Carl]. I'm not looking towards the end of the season yet. We've got a lot of work ahead of us, a lot of racing ahead of us, so we're not going to get too far ahead of ourselves."

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR XFINITY