Notes of Interest

● At the Point: With yet another top-10 finish last weekend at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, Truex moved into the points lead for the first time this season. The New Jersey native heads into Richmond (Va.) Raceway with 220 points, five ahead of second-place JGR teammate Ty Gibbs. All four JGR entries are currently inside the top-10 in points heading to the seventh race of the season, with Denny Hamlin fourth and Christopher Bell seventh.

● Truex has three wins, nine top-five finishes and 17 top-10s and has led a total of 1,359 laps in 35 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Richmond. His average Richmond finish is 15.3.

● Truex notched his most recent Richmond win in September 2021 when he led 80 laps en route to his third victory at the .75-mile oval. All three of Truex’s Richmond wins have come in a JGR car. In fact, over the last 10 races at Richmond, Truex has only finished outside the top-10 just once.

● In those last 10 races at Richmond, Truex has amassed six top-five finishes and nine top-10, which included the aforementioned three victories.

● Laps Led: Of all the Cup Series currently races on, Truex has led the most laps at Richmond with 1,359. His next-best is Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, where he’s led 1,059 laps.

● 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 champion Kurt Busch for 25th on the all-time Cup Series win list.

● 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.

Martin Truex Jr., Driver of the No. 19 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry XSE

Did Richmond go from toward the bottom to toward the top of tracks you like once you had some success there?

“I’ve always really liked it, to be honest. From the first time I raced there in 2003, I’ve always enjoyed the track. There was a long period where I didn’t have great numbers there, but I felt like I loved the track and always ran well there and had a lot of crazy things happen there throughout my career. Once I got to Furniture Row (Racing), we started leading a ton of laps there. We also had a couple of heartbreaking finishes there where we should have won the race but didn’t and I wondered if it was ever going to happen. Then we went on a streak there, so it’s been a great track and it’s a ton of fun. Last year, the short tracks were tough to make passes and we would get stuck a car length behind someone. You would run them down and get a car length back and you couldn’t make any moves because of the dirty air. Hopefully we’ve been able to help that some and we can go back to putting on a great show at places like Richmond, and I hope for myself and my team we can get our Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota back in victory lane there like we’ve done before.”

With the success you’ve had there, what are the challenges when you’re racing at Richmond?

“I love the track, it’s great. Been very successful there, especially lately with our Auto-Owners Insurance Camry. Been lucky enough to win some races there. I really enjoy the track because it’s kind of unique. It’s a short track but it races like a bigger track than it is. You can really move around there the way the tires wear out and the track is really slippery. That makes it fun and a challenge and always a good race for the fans.”

How has the NextGen car changed your approach to short tracks?

“Short tracks have been a challenge, but I feel like we’ve been gaining on it in the last year and certainly, starting at Phoenix, we had a strong car. It was a lot harder to pass than years past, for sure. With the shifting and with how the brakes are on these cars, it’s so different than it was before. I think shifting has been the biggest difference, but you have the braking to go along with that. Then you have the independent rear suspension and the differential and all those things go along with each other to what we have now. We almost have more than the brakes and tires can even take, so it’s been tough to try and modulate that and try not to lock up the rear tires. It’s been a challenge. This is the first true short track with some of the tweaks they’ve made to the package, so we’ll see if that has helped some of that or not and what we need to work on with our Auto-Owners Insurance Camry this weekend at Richmond.”

How important is qualifying at short tracks?

“It’s very important. At all of the short tracks, qualifying has been huge from starting up front and having a good pit stall. You need both of those at Richmond to be successful. Track position is going to be everything, and we want to start up front and stay there. I’ve been able to lead a lot of laps at Richmond over the years and staying up front is a key for the success we’ve had there over the years.”