Notes of Interest
● Truex and the No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry team for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) set the tone for the season right out of the gate by winning the 150-lap feature in the non-points Clash at the Coliseum on Feb. 5 in Los Angeles. Truex won his heat race, then went on to lead the final 25 laps of the feature en route to the victory.
● All three of Truex’s three Martinsville wins in the NASCAR Cup Series have come in his time at JGR, now in its fifth season. He has a total of four top-five finishes with the team at the .526-mile paperclip-shaped oval.
● Truex’s three Martinsville wins are included in his nine top-five finishes and 15 top-10s at the track, and he’s led a total of 1,016 laps in 34 career Cup Series outings at Martinsville. Truex’s average Martinsville finish is 16.4.
● Ahead at this Stage: Truex leads the NASCAR Cup Series with 56 stage wins since the beginning of the stage era in 2017. He is the only driver with 10 or more stage sweeps, as well. While Truex came close to winning a stage at the season-opening Daytona 500, he does not have a stage win so far this year.
● After his seventh-place finish at the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway last weekend, Truex heads to Martinsville seventh in the driver standings with 232 points, 49 out of the lead.
Martin Truex Jr., Driver of the No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry TRD
When you think about the short-track package and what you learned at Richmond, what are you expecting at Martinsville this weekend?
“Definitely high confidence going into Martinsville compared to last year. Short tracks were a struggle for us last year, Martinsville especially. To be able to go run like we did at the Clash and win, and then how we ran at Richmond, it gives me a lot of confidence going forward that our Martinsville stuff should be good. I love going there, it’s been a really good track for us over the years aside from last year. Hopefully we can continue that and use that going forward with our Bass Pro Shops Camry.”
What are the challenges of racing at Martinsville as far as navigating it lap to lap and controlling your emotions there?
“The biggest thing is just the beating and banging that happens there and getting knocked out of the way. For me, I’ve really only had one issue there, which was getting taken out of the race at the end in 2018. It gets like that at Martinsville, it’s just a tough track. When it comes down to a few laps to go, you can go down there and blow the corner and run into somebody and can get the spot. That’s where the frustration comes from there, from a lot of drivers over the years.”
In the recent past you’ve raced at Martinsville at night, and this will be a day race. What’s the biggest difference between night and day racing there?
“It’s really not that different. The biggest change is just when it’s either warmer or cooler. I don’t think nighttime has changed it a whole bunch, maybe just slightly. A lot of it depends on the tire and if it puts rubber down. That’s really the game-changer from our standpoint, it changes the track more than anything.”