Martin Truex Jr. has moved up from 34th to 18th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings over the past two weeks.

Were it not for mechanical problems in the first two races, he might be even higher.

Truex heads next to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., where a performance similar to his eighth-place finish last year would help the Stafford Township native move up even more.

“This season has been really interesting,” Truex said in quotes provided this week by his team, Michael Waltrip Racing. “The first two races I had very strong cars, but not much to show for in terms of results. It was unfortunate especially what happened at Phoenix (in the second race of the season). The last two races, I have had solid finishes and yet, I don’t think those cars were as fast or as competitive as the ones I had in the first two events.”

Truex said MWR’s equipment has been reason for optimism. The team has adjusted well to NASCAR’s new cars this year, and Truex said there still is room for improvement.

“The new 2013 NAPA Toyotas we are bringing to the track are competitive,” Truex said. “We look like we are in pretty good shape so far. We just need to keep making good decisions and keep trying to get our stuff better. I feel like we still are not exactly where we want to be.

“I think Michael Waltrip Racing is doing a good job and we are working on even more stuff to make our new 2013 Toyotas even better. We are still learning about these new cars. We learned a lot at Bristol. Things happened that we did not expect as far as how the balance changed during the race. It was a lot different than what’s happened over the last couple of years.”