Martin Truex Jr. set for 300th career Cup start this weekend

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Martin Truex Jr. was apparently caught off-guard at the fact that he’ll be making his 300th career Sprint Cup start this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I had absolutely no idea that my 300th start is coming up,” he said in a Chevy release. “I’ve been blessed to be with some great race teams and have enjoyed plenty of fond memories. Looking back, it seems like a long time ago that I made my first start but it really wasn’t.

“They say when you’re having fun, time flies, and in my case that is so true because I have had an incredible amount of fun over the years.”

Truex made Cup start No. 1 on October 31, 2004 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a Dale Earnhardt Inc. car. He finished 37th that day due to an engine problem that knocked him out late in the running.

In 2006, Truex achieved full-time Cup status with DEI and in 2007, he earned his first Cup win at Dover International Speedway. However, it would be another six years and 218 races before the New Jersey native returned to Victory Lane at Sonoma Raceway as a driver for Michael Waltrip Racing.

Right now, Truex and his new Furniture Row Racing team are looking for their first strong result of the season in Las Vegas. Truex had an engine blow on him at the Daytona 500 and last Sunday at Phoenix, a lack of grip on his No. 78 Chevy relegated him to a 22nd place finish.

“Las Vegas will be another good test to see where we are at with the new rules package for the 2014 car,” he said. “The first two races have not turned out the way we had expected, but we’ve also had some positive signs.

“It would be nice to look back and remember how successful the 300th start was.”

Truex has claimed two Top-10 finishes in his last three starts at Las Vegas, including an eighth-place finish last year for MWR.

Relive the 1911 Indy 500 in living color

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Race fans and historians will have an opportunity to relive the 1911 Indy 500 in color this Sunday, November 25 at 8 p.m. ET.

Airing on the Smithsonian Channel as part of their America in Color series, a colorized version of the first Indy 500 highlights a race that began a tradition more than 100 years old.

The Indy 500 helped establish the auto racing industry and part of the episode deals with the lives of the Ford, Firestone and Edison families.

On board mechanics were a fixture of racing at the time – in part because they also served as spotters. On Lap 90 Joe Jagersberger (running three laps down at the time) broke a steering mount and his rider tumbled onto the track, causing Harry Knight to careen into the pits – which had no wall separating it from the track. Remarkably, no one was killed.

The documentary describes how Ray Harroun likely won because of his use of a rear view mirror that allowed him to drive without an on board mechanic. Innovation in that inaugural race set the tone for racing today.

Harroun beat Ralph Mumford by a margin of 103 seconds in a race that took six hours, 42 minutes to run.