Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR. All Graphics designed by Toby Christie/Sicknissified.com.
*Editor’s note: This is the second installment, of a 12 article series where we will be previewing the 2013 season for the drivers who made the Chase last season.
By: Toby Christie – Follow on Twitter @Tobalical
With time running out on his contract at Michael Waltrip Racing, Martin Truex Jr. picked the opportune time to have the best year of his Sprint Cup Series career. In all Truex matched or exceeded his previous career best in just about every category in 2012 including: Top-fives (seven), Top-tens (19), Points Rank (11th), Average Start (12.1), and Average Finish (12.1), and he was a major part of one of the biggest stories of 2012; the emergence of Michael Waltrip Racing as a power house team in the Sprint Cup Series.
Truex made the Chase for The Sprint Cup for the second time in his career, and the first time since 2007. In fact just about the only thing that Truex didn’t do in 2012 was win a race — but he was just about as close as it gets all season long. Truex’s closest bid for victory came at Kansas Speedway in April where he led 173 laps, before being bested late by Denny Hamlin for the win.
The thing that everyone must take away from 2012 is just how consistent Martin Truex Jr. was. Never at any point in the grueling 36-race stretch that was the Sprint Cup Series season did Truex fall further down in the point standings than 11th. He was especially strong in the regular season, but in 2013 he and crew chief Chad Johnston will look to take another step forward towards hoisting the Sprint Cup Series trophy at season’s end.
Following his great 2012 campaign Truex and Michael Waltrip Racing have agreed to extend their partnership through 2015, and NAPA Auto Parts saw enough this past season to keep their name proudly on the hood of the No. 56 Toyota Camry.
The question isn’t if Truex will reach victory lane in 2013, the true question is: how many times will he spray champagne?
Starts: 36, Wins: 0, Top5: 7, Top10: 19, Poles: 1, Laps Led: 434, Average Start: 12.1, Average Finish: 12.1, DNF: 2
Starts: 261, Wins: 1, Top5: 24, Top10: 75, Poles: 7, Laps Led: 1,536, Average Start: 16.8, Average Finish: 18.3, DNF: 34