After Sonoma win, Truex looks to keep up pace in Kentucky

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After breaking a 218-race winless streak last weekend at Sonoma Raceway, Martin Truex Jr. had what he called “a great week” looking through messages of congratulations and enjoying the victory with team members at the Michael Waltrip Racing shop.

But tonight, the New Jersey native is getting back to business at Kentucky Speedway, hopeful that the positive momentum can continue for him.

“The team has been doing a great job lately,” Truex said on Friday at Kentucky. “Really, we’ve had fast cars all year long and we’ve talked about that a lot. Mile-and-a-halves [tracks] have been good for us, so we’re looking forward to having a great weekend here at Kentucky.

“This has not been one of our best race tracks as far as a mile-and-a-half track goes, but we did have a good run here last year and hoping to build on that and see what we can do this weekend.”

Truex has been a steady performer on 1.5-mile ovals throughout the first half of the season. He’s finished eighth at Las Vegas, second at Texas (led 142 laps), fourth at Kansas (led 46 laps), and ninth at Charlotte. Last year in Kentucky, he qualified toward the front and stayed there, winding up eighth at the checkered flag.

As for why his team has been solid on the intermediate ovals, Truex credits his own knowledge of getting around these types of tracks, as well as the knowledge of his crew chief, Chad Johnston.

“I think Chad really understands what it takes to make cars run fast on those race tracks,” said Truex, who starts 19th in tonight’s Quaker State 400.

“I really enjoy them and I understand what it takes to run fast on them as well. I think at the end of the day, you’re only as good as the car you’re sitting in and Chad has done a really, really good job at giving me the stuff I need to run fast at those places.”

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”