News Martin Truex Jr. returns to Kentucky Speedway as defending race, series champion

03:35  13 july  2018
03:35  13 july  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

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Martin Lee Truex Jr . (born June 29, 1980) is an American professional stock car racing driver. He currently competes full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

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Martin Truex Jr. is no longer looking to avenge a near-miss at Kentucky Speedway. Instead, the defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion returns to the hills of Sparta, Kentucky to defend his Quaker State 400 title.

Heading into last year’s race at Kentucky, Truex was second in the points race and looking to avenge a disappointing finish in the 2016 race. The New Jersey native dominated last year in a victory he called “sweet redemption” at the time.

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Martin Truex Jr . wins Quaker State 400 at Kentucky for his third victory this season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series . With just over a lap to go in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway , Martin Truex Jr . held a lead of more than 15 seconds over second-place Kyle

Martin Truex Jr . and Kyle Busch race for first place during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. Truex won the race and the championship . AP Photo/Gaston De Cardenas.

With last year’s win, Truex joined Matt Kenseth as the only driver not named Keselowski or Busch to win the Quaker State 400, presented by Walmart.

"To go back there after what happened (in 2016) and get our first win at Kentucky was awesome," Truex said. "It was the kind of win that's a real confidence booster and gave us a lot of momentum for the rest of the year."

Truex had a 16-second lead as the final laps of last year's race counted down before Kurt Busch brought out a caution, which triggered seven laps of NASCAR's overtime-finish format. 

Truex was able to hold off the field on worn tires and take control of the points race. He currently sits third in the points with three wins and is already guaranteed a spot in the MENCS playoffs. 

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OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE for Martin Truex Jr ., 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Champion , Two-time Xfinity Series Champion Martin Truex Jr . · 9 hrs ·. If you’re at Charlotte Motor Speedway today, come visit our MTJFoundation/SherryStrong booth located in the Fan Zone across

Martin Truex Jr . is the defending champion , having won his first in the series . 19. Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart. Kentucky Speedway , Sparta, Kentucky . July 14. 7:30 p.m.

Notorious Turn Three Gives Kentucky Notoriety

In the early years of Kentucky Speedway, bumps made the 1.5-mile track notorious among NASCAR circuits.

Now, since the redesign and repaving of the track in 2016, turn three is what Kentucky Speedway is known for among drivers.

“Getting your car to work in (turn) three is the real challenge,” Truex said. “Cars are going fast out of (turn) two and carrying a lot of speed going into (turn) three. It’s definitely tricky – not optimum as far as how you would want a track set up.”

The ability of the teams to stay on top of a car’s setup, combined with the driver’s skill is why success in the Quaker State 400 is a good indicator of success in the MENCS championship.

"Turn three is really ... what sorts them out," Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger said at a tire-testing session in May. "The drivers that really have a lot of skill, and now also a lot of experience, have continued to do well here. ... We've probably stratified it even more with the changes to one and two, and made it even more difficult for the outsiders to compete here."

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– Martin Truex Jr ., driver of the No. 78 Toyota Camry, begins his quest for the 2017 NASCAR Championship crown in Sunday’s playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Truex returns to the 1.5-mile tri-oval speedway as the defending champion of the Tales of the Turtles 400

Martin Truex Jr . #78. Toyota. Team: Furniture Row Racing . Truex : NASCAR makes right call on aero package. Defending Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr . said Thursday that he's glad NASCAR won't implement a new package of aerodynamic rules during the 2018 season.

In the recent commercials for the Quaker State 400, Truex tells viewers that turn three "keeps you up at night."

Related slideshow: 2018 NASCAR Cup Series winners (Provided by photo services) 

Truex sees playoff bust if mistakes aren't 'cleaned up' .
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs are coming.Truex and the No. 78 crew have done more than enough to lock in their first-round position with four wins in the regular season and seven stage wins. The Furniture Row Racing team currently sits third in points just behind Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, his two counterparts in the “Big 3” phenom who have dominated a majority of the season.

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