Truex Jr. Charges to Bristol

Martin Truex Jr.

"Our season is off to a very encouraging start." (Photo: Getty Images)

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Martin Truex Jr. finds himself inside the top 10 of the Sprint Cup Series point standings and plans to stay there with a good run in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Michael Waltrip Racing driver sits eighth in the points heading into the fourth race of the season. In fact all three of MWR’s drivers are inside the first 15 of the standings and Truex Jr. is optimistic the success will continue.

“Our season is off to a very encouraging start,” Truex Jr. said. “I see some areas of improvement that are still needed but all in all, everyone at MWR is working hard and together to keep the strong momentum going.”

He hit a speed bump last week in Las Vegas when despite having a competitive car in the early going, Truex Jr. struggled in the mid-portion of the race and sank to a 17th-place finish.

“I just didn't have the front grip I needed,” Truex Jr. said of his Vegas run. “Ever since the sun came out we just couldn't get our NAPA Toyota better. We fought loose off and could never tighten it back up. It was the same condition we had at Texas last year. We made small wedge and air pressure changes, but we just couldn't get it better. It's frustrating because I know we are better than this."

He’s hoping for improvement at Bristol.

Truex Jr. knows the competitive nature of the Sprint Cup Series and figured there might be some growing pains with the team this year as it added Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin to the fold.

But the relatively fast start to the campaign by all three drivers has been rewarding to Truex, who is a veteran presence at MWR.

“This sport is so difficult and it’s nice to go to the race track right now,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of good conversations with all of our drivers, crew chiefs and teams. It’s just been fun to run like this and see the enthusiasm of all the guys in the shop. Things are really looking up for MWR and it’s very important for us to keep our eyes on the areas where we still need to get better. If we keep all of it in sight, a win should come very soon.”

That first victory of the season and second of his career could come at the half-mile Tennessee oval. Truex Jr. has run well at Bristol in the past including last spring’s race when he led 63 laps. He followed that with a second place finish to August race winner Brad Keselowski.

Truex Jr. is hoping to pick up where he left off in 2012.

“I am really looking forward to this weekend especially after the strong runs we had at Bristol last year in the NAPA Toyota,” he said. “In the spring race, we led 63 laps and faded in the end. But the night race, we really prepared for what we fought earlier and ended up with a second-place finish.

“It’s a great track especially after they redid the concrete and configuration. I feel like we can contend for the win in the NAPA Toyota on Sunday.”

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