Auto racing: Truex brothers return to scene of past success

By Howard Ulman

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, July 14 2012 8:00 p.m. MDT

Driver Martin Truex Jr. talks with crew chief Chad Johnston during practice for a NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Loudon, N.H. Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2012 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2012 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Drew Hallowell, Getty Images for Nascar

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LOUDON, N.H. — Ryan Truex remembers when the workers on his older brother's car would stuff him in a box used to hold dirty rags and tape up the hole on top.

Terrifying stuff at the time but an amusing memory now that he's racing himself.

"I was little, but still, I was scared," Truex said Saturday. "I didn't like it."

At least his tormentors left holes in the box to help him breathe.

The 20-year-old Truex competed in the Nationwide race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday and finished 10th. On Sunday, Martin Truex Jr. starts from the fourth position in the Sprint Cup race. And now the 32-year-old driver in eighth place in the Sprint Cup standings is very proud of the sibling who suffered at his staff's hands.

"He's staying in my garage because he's broke, trying to make a living in racing. That's what you do. You put your life on hold and you go race cars," Martin said. "I admire his passion for the sport, his passion for what he's doing. He eats, breathes, sleeps racing."

The brothers, plus their father, are quite fond of the one-mile oval at New Hampshire. All three have won races here.

Martin Truex Sr. won in the K&N Pro Series East in 1994. Martin Truex Jr. posted wins in that series in 2000 and 2003, then won the Nationwide event in 2005. Ryan won twice in the K&N Pro Series East in 2010.

"It's always exciting for me to come up here," Martin Truex Jr. said. "This is the only track that all three of us have won at so it's a cool place to come. I've got a lot of great memories here."

One of the best involves a racing legend.

Martin Jr. figures he was no more than 12 years old when he was in the garage helping work on his father's car. He looked up at the car next to it.

Dale Earnhardt's car.

"He was my favorite driver as a kid," Martin Jr. said. "I remember him being up in the fender well working on his carburetor and stuff like that. I just thought it was the coolest thing. That was probably one of my greatest memories and not only because I saw Dale, but I was sitting there thinking that my dad is going to race against Dale Earnhardt."

While he's been successful in the Sprint Cup, his younger brother is trying to make a name for himself in the second-tier Nationwide series. Ryan has a six-race contract with Joe Gibbs Racing.

"I've got two more races with them this year," he said. "My goal is to go full time next year. (I'm) just trying to find the funding to do it and put things together. We're working on it."

His brother's status for next year hasn't been settled either. But he sounded optimistic that he would stay with Michael Waltrip Racing.

"We're kind of finalizing some details, but I've been obviously extremely happy with the performance of the team this year," Martin Truex Jr. said. "I'm looking forward to spending a lot more years at Michael Waltrip Racing and, hopefully, we can get that wrapped up soon."

But he's more concerned with the present.

"You get so focused and so into being a teammate and a team player, being part of the everyday operations of a race team, you really forget that your time is almost up there and you're really only hired to work for them," he said.

The Truex brothers didn't see a lot of each other after Martin Jr. began traveling to his races, but now that's changing.

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