Number 56 Toyota
Michael Waltrip Racing
NAPA Auto Parts
June 29, 1980
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Martin Truex Jr. ran his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race near the end of the 2004 season. After failing to qualify in New Hampshire Martin made the race in Atlanta a few weeks later. Unfortunately his engine didn't make it to the finish and he ended up 37th with a DNF in his first race.
Martin Truex Jr. went on to compete in Homestead that year but again posted a DNF and a disappointing 32nd place finish.
Truex again raced just a few events in 2005 as he qualified for seven races that season. He continued to be plagued by bad luck as five of those seven ended in DNFs. The bright spot of those early partial seasons was a seventh place effort in the 2005 Coca-Cola 600.
Martin Truex Jr. finally moved up to the Cup series full-time for the 2006 season with high expectations. Truex was fresh from back-to-back Nationwide Series Championships in 2004 and 2005 and was one of the top rookies in the 2006 Rookie of the Year class.
Martin posted two top-five finishes in 2006 and ended up second in the Rookie of the Year standings behind Denny Hamlin.
2001 - First NASCAR Nationwide Series Start
2004 - First NASCAR Nationwide Series Victory (Bristol)
2004 - First NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Start
2004 - NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion
2005 - NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion
2006 - Moves to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Full-Time
2007 - First NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Victory (NASCAR Open)
2007 - First NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Points-Paying Victory (Dover)
2010 - Joined Michael Waltrip Racing
Martin Truex Jr: Huge Potential - Wrong Equipment?:
After a few early starts to get his feet wet Martin Truex Jr. burst onto the NASCAR scene in 2004. In his first full-season of racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Martin Truex Jr. posted 26 top ten finishes in the 34 races and visited Victory Lane six times on his way to the 2004 NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship.
Truex backed that up in 2005 with another dominating season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Martin Truex Jr. ended 2005 with 22 more top ten finishes, six additional Nationwide Series wins and his second consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship.
After winning back-to-back Championships for Dale Earnhardt Inc. expectations were high for Truex in the Sprint Cup Series. DEI brought him to the Cup series full-time in 2006 but he found limited success there.
Truex only made his way to Victory Lane once in his first six seasons and has never finished the season in the top ten in points.
What has prevented Martin Truex Jr. from continuing his NASCAR domination in the big leagues? Did he hit the limit of his talent? I don't think so.
To be honest Dale Earnhardt Inc. was not the same after Dale Earnhardt Jr. left at the end of the 2007 season (and it wasn't that great before then). This left Truex with inferior equipment and his performance on the track has reflected it. Truex never won a race with DEI after Junior left the team.
Then 2010 brought a change for Martin Truex Jr. He joined Michael Waltrip Racing for the start of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season to drive the NAPA Toyota.
However, once again Martin Truex Jr. finds himself in a team that isn't exactly a staple in Victory Lane. Michael Waltrip Racing has two wins to its credit but both of them belong to David Reutimann.
I would love to see what Martin Truex Jr. could accomplish with a top-tier team. I wonder what would happen if he took over the Hendrick Motorsports #88 or the Roush Racing #6?