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.
"It's been a lot of fun for me to be part of Ryan's career, to watch him come up," he said. "We're probably closer today than we've ever been and that's because growing up I moved away and I was racing, to make a living. He was still a kid living at home. We didn't get to spend a lot of time together when he was young and we're kind of catching up on that now."
Ryan also runs into strangers who claim to have seen him at the New Hampshire track back when he was just a kid and his brother was competing.
"I grew up coming here and watching him race here and my dad. Pretty much every time I come up here, there's a new person that will come up and say that they remember when I was this big coming here," Ryan said, holding his hand about three feet above the floor.
"I have no idea who they are. It happened already again this week. Some guy said he used to come here and race with my dad. It's cool to come here. It kind of feels like a second home track."
The brothers were born in Mayetta, N.J., not far from Dover International Speedway.
That's where Martin Truex Jr. captured his first Sprint Cup win in 2007.
But now the Truex boys are in New Hampshire, a place of memorable events for both.
"Every time I come here I have fun," Ryan said.
Keselowski wins Nationwide race
LOUDON, N.H. (AP) — Brad Keselowski slipped in front when Kevin Harvick got into a traffic jam. Then Harvick got mad.
Keselowski took the checkered flag in Saturday's Nationwide race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway while Harvick fumed about the inexperienced driver who got in his way even though she had been lapped.
"It's somebody who shouldn't be on the racetrack, who has no clue what they're doing in the race car," Harvick said, directing his anger at Amber Cope. "She wants to be Danica Patrick, but she can't hold her helmet."
Keselowski capitalized when Harvick was forced to slow down with about 21 laps left in the 200-mile race at the one-mile oval, pulling ahead and winning by about six car lengths.
Keselowski led for the most laps, 131. Now he'd like to make it a double when he competes on Sunday in the Sprint Cup, where he's ninth in the standings with three wins, tied for the most with Tony Stewart.
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