NASCAR: Ryan Truex Cements Status as Next Big Thing with Strong Dover Finish

Christopher Leone@ChristopherlionSenior Analyst IJune 4, 2012

DOVER, DE - JUNE 02:  Ryan Truex, driver of the #20 Grime Boss Toyota, poses with the Coors pPole award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series 5-hour Energy 200 at Dover International Speedway on June 2, 2012 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

After a few years of Sprint Cup driver domination, the Nationwide Series has gotten back to its roots as a successful national driver development series for NASCAR's top tier. At Richmond, Ryan Blaney was the story, but it was another Ryan—Truex, the brother of Sprint Cup driver Martin Truex, Jr.—who made the biggest headlines at Dover, scoring the pole and a second place finish just a week and a half after an emergency appendectomy.

The younger Truex won the Dover pole with a speed of 154.746 miles per hour. Though teammate Joey Logano took the lead at the start, Truex stayed toward the front of the field all day, finally taking the lead on lap 152 of 200. He hoped to take his first Nationwide Series win at the same track where his older brother won his lone Sprint Cup race in 2007.

He held the point for 43 laps until Logano got by him once again on lap 195 to steal the victory—a move looked down upon by many race fans and a handful of journalists. Logano has been a Sprint Cup driver for Gibbs since 2009 and only runs a handful of Nationwide events.

"Disappointed," Truex tweeted after the race. "(But) we're all race car drivers trying to win."

"So close. Feel terrible for little bro," Martin Truex Jr. added. "But he did all he could. Showed why he deserves a full time ride again."

Truex, 20, was a two-time champion in the K&N Pro Series East division with Michael Waltrip Racing in 2009 and 2010. As a reward, Waltrip gave him a total of 18 Nationwide starts in 2010 and 2011, resulting in 11 top-20 finishes and only three DNFs.

When sponsorship issues put his development program with MWR on hold, he joined Joe Gibbs Racing for six starts late last year. With Gibbs, he scored a best finish of fourth at Richmond, never finishing worse than 13th in their No. 20 car.

This year, Truex has made five starts with Tommy Baldwin Racing, RAB Racing, and Gibbs, with the help of new personal sponsor Grime Boss. He's continued to produce strong finishes in Gibbs' superior equipment, scoring three finishes of 11th or better in his three Gibbs races.

Truex has tweeted that he will return to Gibbs' Nationwide program at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in mid-July. While he has never made a Nationwide start at the track, he has never finished worse than third at Loudon, scoring two wins, in his four K&N East starts there.