Date: March 29, 2021
Event: Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt (Race 5 of 22)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway
Format: Three Stages; 40 laps/50 laps/60 laps
Start/Finish: 15th/1st (Running, completed 150 of 150 laps)
Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)
In just his third career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start, Martin Truex Jr. scored his first career victory on the dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway in the No. 51 Auto-Owners Insurance Tundra. Truex dominated the day, leading 105 of the 150 laps and winning both Stage One and Stage Two.
Stage One Recap:
- With Saturday’s qualifying races rained out, Truex started from the 15th position due to a performance matrix based on based on finishing position from the previous race, ranking in owner points standings and the fastest lap from the previous race at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway.
- Throughout the first stage, Truex radioed that he was managing his water temperature and that his Auto-Owners Insurance Tundra felt pretty good.
- After starting in second for a one-lap dash to the stage break, Truex was able to take the lead to score the stage win.
Stage Two Recap:
- At the stage break, Truex radioed to his team that his No. 51 Tundra was good. Crew chief Mardy Lindley summoned his driver to pit road under the controlled caution for four tires and fuel. Truex started the second stage from the third position.
- After four cautions in the second stage, Truex scored the stage win.
Final Stage Recap:
- Under the break, Truex radioed to his crew that his Tundra felt good and that it needed no changes. The over-the-wall crew changed four tires and added fuel under the caution. Truex started the final stage from the third position.
- At the 10th caution, Truex radioed that the nose on his Auto-Owners Tundra was no longer dragging, but he felt that his truck was hitting the track more than earlier.
- Truex was able to hold onto the race lead through two cautions en route to his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory.
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 51 Auto-Owners Insurance Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports
How exciting was that Martin?
“It’s unbelievable really. I guess they had to put dirt on Bristol to get me back into victory lane here. It’s been a long time. That was a blast. I’m still really surprised. I wanted to run this race so I could get more experience for the Cup car, and then we got out there in practice and it felt really good and I was having a lot of fun, so I just kept trying to work with the guys and tell them what I needed, and just thanks to Auto Owners, Noble Aerospace, Toyota, TRD, everybody at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) for letting me drive this thing and putting this deal together. That was a blast. I kept thinking, ‘what’s going to happen next, am I going to get a flat tire or something stupid?’ This 51 is pretty much used to finishing in victory lane, so a lot of pressure there, so I’m glad we could get it done.”
Did you expect to win here today?
“You always expect to win when you come to the racetrack. I’m pleasantly surprised to say the least. We came here this weekend and I wanted to run this truck just to get some experience and try to help with the Cup car. Who would have thought that I would get my first Truck Series victory on dirt. Really happy for the opportunity. Thankful to Auto Owners Insurance, Noble Aerospace and obviously Kyle (Busch, team owner) and everybody at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) for putting this deal together and letting me do this – Toyota, TRD. This was a lot of fun. We weren’t supposed to come here and win. That’s really the icing on the cake. Now I’ve got my truck win that I’ve been thinking about wanting to go after. Really, really cool and still a little bit surprised. What an awesome job these guys did with this truck. Made the right adjustments for today. I told them a few things I wanted to change from practice, he (Marty Lindley, crew chief) changed a few things himself. Marty Lindley (crew chief), he’s an old veteran. He did a heck of a job and that was a lot of fun.”
How did reality differ from your initial expectations of how this race would go?
“I really just had an open mind about it. I thought that any time we go and do something new and different, it’s always fun. Even though I don’t have a lot of experience doing this, I looked at it as, ‘Hey, Bristol hasn’t been a great place for me anyway, let’s put dirt down and see how it goes.’ The little time I’ve spent in dirt vehicles, which is not much at all, I really enjoyed myself. That was one thing I was looking at and thinking. Every time I got on dirt in something, I had a lot of fun. I just approached this weekend as let’s go have some fun, let’s try to figure it out as quickly as we can and that’s why I ran the truck. Clearly, we had a good truck and we figured it out and here we are. Just a blast and thankful for everybody for making it happen.”
Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt Recap:
- Martin Truex Jr. scored his first career victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Bristol, beating Ben Rhodes by 1.149 seconds. Raphael Lessard, Todd Gilliland and Chase Briscoe rounded out the top five.
- There were 12 cautions for 54 laps. There were 11 lead changes among six drivers.
How Truex’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 39th.
- Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 34th.
Camping World Truck Series Owner Championship Standings:
After five races, the No. 51 team sits first in the owner’s championship standings.
The No. 51 hits the track with Kyle Busch when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resumes action on Saturday, April 17 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. Live coverage will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 1:30 p.m. ET.