Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Truex's Earnhardt moment

CORNELIUS, N.C. — Martin Truex Jr. recalls an afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway more than 15 years ago when his father’s race car and the late Dale Earnhardt’s car were parked nose-to-nose in the Busch garage. The youngster watched as his favorite NASCAR star worked so close to his father preparing for the race on the “Magic Mile.” It’s just one of the memories Truex has from the Loudon, N.H. track that has played such an important role in his family’s racing career.

Nearly two decades later, Truex Jr. visits NHMS this weekend hoping to continue his second-half surge in 2011. The No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver led 14 laps and nearly won Monday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway before fuel mileage forced an extra pit stop that spoiled his victory bid. Despite the 18th-place finish, Truex has scored the 11th most points of any driver in the last 10 races.

Favorite Memory at NHMS: “They used to run a combination race with the Busch North and regular Busch Series teams. My dad’s Busch North car was parked across from Dale Earnhardt’s car. I would watch him get out of his car. I even remember him getting up under his car to work on the carburetor. I was such a big fan of his. To be able to see him up that close and have my dad’s car right next to his — I thought I was something. I was only 15 years old. That was a cool deal and I will never forget it.”

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