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Dirt Novice Truex Captures Truck Win at Bristol

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, March 29 2021

Martin Truex, Jr. won Monday’s NASCAR Truck Series race at dirty Bristol on Monday. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Martin Truex Jr. had never run a “serious” race on dirt until the Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway, but that didn’t keep him from dominating the 150-lap event Monday at the half-mile track.

Truex won both stages and led five times for 105 laps before recording his first-ever Camping World Truck Series victory by 1.149seconds over Ben Rhodes. Truex now has won a race in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series.

“I’m a little surprised to be here to be honest with you,” said Truex, who provided Kyle Busch Motorsports with its third victory this season in the first five races. “I came here without a lot of dirt experience. I’ve never really ran a serious race on dirt; a few charity races in Modifieds, played around in a Micro Sprint one time. Just really came in here wanting to run the Truck race to get experience for the Cup car and also just to see what it was like and to have some fun.”

The track conditions changed throughout the event and became slicker in the event’s latter stages when Rhodes said Truex drove his Toyota Tundra as if he were on pavement.

“It definitely didn’t feel like pavement,” Truex said. “It was definitely a lot slicker than pavement. As the track got blacker and more slick towards the end, you were starting to drive it straighter and straighter. Early on when the track was tacky and kind of a wide groove, that was a lot of fun. You could really drive it into the corner and get sideways like a dirt track. 

“There was a lot of learning going on there. Just to see how much the track changed was really neat. I approached it with an open mind and having some fun. It’s no different than a short track. You’re just sliding more.”   

` Rhodes said he would like to see the half-mile track remain dirt instead of transitioning back to concrete for the September race.

“This was the best day I have ever had at Bristol,” Rhodes said after his second-place finish. 

Prior to Monday, Rhodes’ best finish at Bristol had been fifth in August 2017. 

Raphael Lessard’s third-place finish was his best this season and the Canadian attributed it to his ability to drive on the snow and ice.

The Truck Series next dirt track race is July 9 at Knoxville, Iowa. The next Truck race on the 2021 season schedule is April 17 at Richmond, Va.

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, March 29 2021
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