NASCAR

Truex, Keselowski overcome setbacks

Check out the NASCAR Sprint Cup highlights from Kansas Speedway.
Check out the NASCAR Sprint Cup highlights from Kansas Speedway.
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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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I am really impressed with the way Martin Truex Jr. has turned things around so far this season. He led a lot of laps in the NASCAR Sprint Cup STP 400 on Sunday at Kansas Speedway and brought his NAPA Toyota home in fourth.

FAST TRACKERS

NASCAR drivers took on fast Kansas track. PHOTOS

At Texas Motor Speedway in the previous race, he was second.

His 2013 campaign really got off to a rough start. He blew a motor in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. Then he had a rear-end problem the very next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. I know he wants to win and is frustrated he hasn’t, but to have back-to-back top-five finishes has to make him feel really good.

Aric Almirola, who finished eighth at Kansas, now has put together back-to-back top-10 finishes and finds himself 13th in the points.

Another driver who just keeps on keeping on is Paul Menard. We’ve had eight races with Paul placing in the top 10 in half of those. One of those was Sunday at Kansas where he finished 10th. It’s those kinds of runs that have him 10th in the points right now.

I think the “Atta Boy” of the race, and quite honestly for all of last week, has to go to Brad Keselowski and his crew chief Paul Wolfe. This is a team that is going to go through the appeals process on the severe penalties levied against them for infractions discovered at Texas. To have that distraction, then qualify 33rd last weekend plus go a lap down to the leader on Lap 21 on Sunday, only to fight back to a sixth-place finish is nothing short of phenomenal in my book.

Now we all know that Penske Racing has a lot of depth, but there is no doubt in my book that should it lose the appeal, the biggest loss Brad will feel is that of Paul Wolfe not being up on the pit box making those gutsy calls like he did on Sunday when he rolled the dice. It sure paid off this past weekend in a big way. especially when you consider the uphill battle the team faced all week just getting to Sunday.

Tagged: Paul Menard

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