When a high-level racecar driver doesn’t have a history of strong results at a certain track that usually means either a dislike or aloofness towards the facility.
Well, when it comes to Martin Truex Jr. and Bristol Motor Speedway that theory doesn’t exist. Why? There’s hardly any parallel between Truex’s admiration and career performances at the half-mile, high-banked oval located in northeastern Tennessee.
“Bristol is a neat little racetrack,” said Truex. “But also a tough one for me. It's been an up-and-down career at Bristol over the years. I've had good runs there and also had a lot of trouble. Our Furniture Row Chevy wasn’t that good at the first Bristol race this year so we have a little work to do.
“But I really like Bristol, especially the night race. The first thing that strikes me about the Bristol night race is the electric prerace show -- the Colosseum-type atmosphere, the national anthem and the flyover. You feel the energy around you that is different from any other place we go to."
The Chase-bound Truex, who ranks fourth in driver points and is having a career season to date with one win, seven top-fives and 16 top-10s, hasn’t had the finishes at Bristol compared to other short tracks on the Sprint Cup Series circuit. He has managed two top-10s (a second and a third) in 19 career starts.
Along with the second and third-place finishes there were two other notable Bristol races for Truex – winning the 2004 Xfinity Series spring race and suffering a fractured right wrist in the 2013 Sprint Cup summer night race.
“I’ve always said -- you never know what you’re going to get at Bristol Motor Speedway,” stated the 35-year-old Truex, who is coming off a third-place finish at Michigan International Speedway.
The driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet will get another crack at the famed Bristol track Saturday in the Irwin Tools Night Race.
“When you get to Bristol and make those first couple of laps it takes you a minute just to catch your breath and really think about what did the car actually do and what do I need to work on because it's just so fast and so breathtaking,” noted Truex.
In the April race at Bristol, Truex entered the event with seven straight top-10s to start the season. But a loose wheel and later getting smacked into the wall snapped the top-10 streak with a 29th-place finish.
“It’s a 36-race season and things beyond your control are going to happen,” explained Truex. “We’ve had good cars all year and have been in position to win a number of races. We did get the one win (at Pocono in June) but there should have been more. We’re in Chase mode right now and feeling confident that we can hit the right setup at any size or shape of racetrack.”