CORNELIUS, N.C. — After leading 127 laps and dominating most of the race, Ryan Truex didn’t like his 15th-place finish in Saturday night’s K&N Pro Series East race at Greenville Pickens Speedway. But history shows a slow start is only a minor detour in his bid to repeat as series champion.
Last season, Truex began his rookie campaign with a 14th-place finish at the South Carolina track then went on to capture three victories and Michael Waltrip Racing’s first championship. The 18-year-old plans to begin his 2010 comeback Saturday afternoon at the fourth-tenths mile South Boston Speedway in Virginia where the younger brother of Martin Truex Jr. is the defending polesitter.
ON GETTING HIS SEASON BACK ON TRACK: “It’s too early to panic but the season is only 10 races long, so you definitely don’t want to have two bad races in a row. We had a really strong car last week. If my guys can give me another strong Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota for Saturday, we should be fine.”
ON SOUTH BOSTON SPEEDWAY: “South Boston is really the place we turned our season around last year. We struggled at the beginning of the season. Then we came to South Boston and won the pole and finished third. It was a great weekend for us and we built on that momentum.”
ON DEFENDING HIS K&N SERIES TITLE: “It’s definitely different this year. Last year, no one knew who I was. Now that I’m the champion, everyone’s gunning for us. You really have to be on your game each weekend. There are a bunch of rookies in the series this year and they all want to prove that they can race with you. ”
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
• Last weekend at Greenville Pickens Speedway Truex started the race second and grabbed the lead on lap three. He led a race-high 127 laps before being involved in an incident on the final restart to cross the finish line 15th.
• Truex won three races and the series championship in 2009, but did not lead the most laps in any race. His first career Wix Lap Leader Award came last weekend at Greenville Pickens Speedway.
• South Boston Speedway was the site of the Mayetta, N.J., natives first career K&N Pro Series East pole. His success at South Boston last year started a string of seven-straight top-three finishes.
• Truex is the third member of his family to compete in the K&N Pro Series East. His father, Martin Truex Sr., and his brother Martin Truex Jr. also competed in the series.
• Saturday’s event marks the fourth consecutive year that South Boston Speedway has hosted a K&N Pro Series East event. The track opened in 1953.
• Truex is expected to compete in five Nationwide Series races in 2010.