BUSCH: Richmond: Martin Truex Jr - NASCAR spotlight

Truex takes lead in championship battle DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 11, 2004) -- It will be difficult for the NASCAR Busch Series to top 2003, when just 14 points separated champion Brian Vickers and runner-up David Green (No. 37 Timber Wolf ...

Truex takes lead in championship battle

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 11, 2004) -- It will be difficult for the NASCAR Busch Series to top 2003, when just 14 points separated champion Brian Vickers and runner-up David Green (No. 37 Timber Wolf Pontiac). There were only 175 points between Vickers and sixth-place Scott Riggs, the smallest such margin in the history of the series.

But there are a host of drivers who, this year, are going to give topping last season's dramatic stretch drive their best shot. Already in 2004, the lead in the NASCAR Busch Series driver standings has exchanged hands five times in 10 races. Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops/Remington Arms Chevrolet) climbed atop the heap for the first time in his career with his win Saturday at Gateway International Raceway.

Truex now leads Michael Waltrip (No. 99 Aaron's Sales & Lease Chevrolet) by 16 points. Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet) is in third place, 29 points down, with Green in fourth, 86 points back. Robby Gordon (No. 55 Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet) rounds out the top five, 93 points behind Truex.

This is Truex's first full year in the NASCAR Busch Series, yet he's already posted three wins. Vickers, the 2003 series champion, wasn't able to break into Victory Lane until the first week August. His early season success has gotten the attention of Truex's peers in the garage. They know he is going to be one of the top cars to beat for the title.

"Winning last weekend at Gateway was big for us, mostly because we took the lead in the points," said Truex. "This is Chance 2 Motorsports' first attempt at going for the championship, as well as mine, so it is certainly a reachable goal. Going into the season, we made the championship our main objective, but now we are the team that everyone is gunning for. That means the pressure is now even greater to stay on top."

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s success over on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series side of the fence is also a great incentive for Truex.

"The coolest thing about the points lead right now is that Dale Jr. leads the points in the [NASCAR] NEXTEL Cup. The No. 8 is on top of the top-two series of motorsports. That goes to show how good of a job everyone is doing at DEI. These guys work so hard, and this is where they expect to be. We both know that the season is still young, but this is a stretch that we must excel in order to relieve some of the pressure."

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Michael Waltrip , Robby Gordon , David Green , Scott Riggs , Martin Truex Jr. , Brian Vickers , Kyle Busch