Notes of Interest

● Truex has one win, six top-five finishes and 15 top-10s and has led a total of 260 laps in 36 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Phoenix. Truex’s average Phoenix finish is 15.3.

● Truex notched his lone Phoenix victory in March 2021, when he led 64 laps en route to the win.

●Looking for 35: Truex’s win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon last July was his most recent Cup Series win, the 34th of his career, tying him with 2004 Cup Series champion Kurt Busch for 25th on the all-time win list in NASCAR’s top series.

● Ahead at this Stage: Truex has accumulated 61 stage wins since the beginning of the stage era in 2017. He is the only driver with 10 or more stage sweeps, with his latest sweep coming at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn last August. With his strong run at Phoenix in November, Truex hopes to add to his stage win total at the desert mile oval this weekend.

● With his seventh-place finish at Las Vegas last weekend, Truex heads to Phoenix third in the standings with 104 points, 14 out of the lead, as the Cup Series finishes off its two-race West Coast swing.

Martin Truex Jr., Driver of the No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry XSE

What is the biggest challenge for you when racing at Phoenix?

“Phoenix is very straightforward-looking, but the two ends are so different that it’s a big challenge to get your car working good, especially with the NextGen car having come around, and we are shifting a bit. It’s definitely a fun place and it’s been really racy there the last couple of years and I enjoy going there. I feel like we had a strong run overall in Vegas and hopefully we have that this weekend in Phoenix with our Bass Pro Shops Camry XSE.”

With Las Vegas being the first downforce race with the new Toyota body, is there anything from practice, qualifying and the race there that you can take to Phoenix and build on?

“It’s all really raw speed in these cars. The better your cars feels, the faster you are and the laps times are better. Not sure we can measure that yet. I felt like we were pretty close all weekend at Vegas but still need to see if we can work on it. It’s a work in progress with our new Toyota Camry XSE and it’s going to take a few weeks to keep adjusting and learning, at Phoenix and a few more tracks, to figure out where we stand. There’s not a huge box to work in with these cars, so it’s just working on it and making adjustments and see if we can keep making small gains.”

With Phoenix being the first race for the tweaks NASCAR made to the short-track package, what do you expect in Friday’s practice session and the weekend in Phoenix overall?

“Based on what we know, I don’t think it’s going to be a ton different or anything huge that’s going to move the needle big. The big question is the tires – what are they going to bring? We hope Goodyear got the tires softer because we need them to wear out if they are not going to give us more horsepower, I think that’s the biggest key. They’ve done a lot of testing and a lot of aero stuff and it hasn’t really moved the needle. I think the biggest key to all of it is what is touching the ground and hopefully the tire is soft enough to make a difference at Phoenix and the rest of the short tracks.”

Let’s say you are in the lead on the final restart at Phoenix. What’s going through your mind?

“I think just getting a good jump and getting through turns one and two. That dogleg breeds opportunities to cut the corner. If you can get to turn one with a little bit of a cushion, you are in generally good shape, so it’s all about the restart there to be able to maintain the lead and be able to bring it home.”