Interstate Batteries Racing: Martin Truex Jr. Pocono Advance

Notes of Interest

 

Outrageously Dependable: Interstate Batteries – one of the most tenured team sponsors in NASCAR history – began its 32nd season as the founding sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) with an expanded presence that features the brand’s iconic green livery across all four of JGR’s NASCAR Cup Series entries. So far this season, Interstate has adorned the No. 20 of Christopher Bell three times, and the No. 54 of Ty Gibbs four times. Interstate rode along with Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota at Circuit of Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas and this weekend will be Truex’s one and only start in the green machine this season.

 

● Truex and the No. 19 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 a victory that gave him and the team much-needed momentum heading into the 2023 season. While the team was knocking on the door over the first 10 points-paying races, the breakthrough win finally came at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway on May 1, and Truex has added two more points-paying victories – June 11 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and this past Monday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon – to give him four overall wins this season.

 

34 and Counting: Truex’s win at New Hampshire was the 34th of his Cup Series career, putting him in a tie with 2004 Cup Series champion Kurt Busch for 25th on the all-time win list in NASCAR’s top series.

 

● Truex has two wins, six top-five finishes and 14 top-10s and has led a total of 237 laps in 33 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono. Truex’s average Pocono finish is 14.5.

 

● Truex notched his second and most recent Pocono win in June 2014 when he led 31 laps along the way. The New Jersey Native’s first win at Pocono came in June 2015, when he led a race-high 97 laps on his way to his maiden win at the “Tricky Triangle.”

 

● In addition to his three wins through 21 points-paying races this season, Truex has seven top-five finishes and 10-top10s and has led 743 laps. To put the laps-led number in perspective, he led 572 laps over the entire 36-race points-paying season in 2022.

 

● With his race-high 254 laps led in his New Hampshire win on Monday, Truex eclipsed 12,000 laps led in his Cup Series career and now sits 17th on the all-time laps led list in NASCAR’s top series.

 

● Toyota Milestone: With Truex’s victory Monday at New Hampshire, Toyota now sits at 599 NASCAR national series victories (176 Cup, 196 Xfinity, 227 Trucks) with an eye on reaching the 600-win milestone this weekend at Pocono.

 

● Helpful Tips: An avid fisherman, Truex uses the marine battery line from Interstate in all his boats. Fans are advised to do the following before they head out on the water:

  • Make sure the battery has a charge by testing it before going out on the water.
  • Clean off any corrosion around battery terminals and ensure a proper connection.
  • Check the battery box seal and terminal boots. If a replacement deep cycle or cranking battery is needed, choose what the pros use and get an Interstate.  

Ahead at this Stage: With his two stage wins Monday at New Hampshire, Truex now has 59 NASCAR Cup Series stage wins since the beginning of the stage era in 2017, tops in the series. He is the only driver with 10 or more stage sweeps, as well, after sweeping both stages at New Hampshire and adding more valuable playoff points he will carry into and through the postseason. Truex also happens to lead the series all-time in stage points with 1,943.

 

● Monday’s victory at New Hampshire vaulted Truex back into the lead in the Cup Series driver standings. He has 667 points, 17 ahead of second-place William Byron. The regular-season champion will receive 15 important playoff points when the playoffs begin on Labor Day weekend in September. Between his stage points and playoff points for his three points-paying victories, Truex now has earned 18 important playoff points with six races remaining in the regular season. 

 

Martin Truex Jr., Driver of the No. 19 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry TRD

 

Are you looking forward to Pocono after having a strong run there last year, even though it didn’t work out in the end?

 

“Really looking forward to going to Pocono this weekend in our Interstate Batteries car. It’s one of our home tracks, as they say. I’ve won there a couple of times and kind of struggled there last year. But really excited to get back with the fast racecars James (Small, crew chief) and all the 19 guys have been bringing to the track lately. The team is doing a great job, and we’re fired up and hope we can get another win at Pocono, but this time with Interstate Batteries on board with us.”

 

With Interstate Batteries being a founding partner of JGR dating back to its inception in 1992, what does it mean to have Interstate on your car at Pocono this weekend, knowing what the company has meant to JGR all these years?

 

“It means a lot to be able to drive the Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry TRD. I’ve been watching Interstate cars go around the racetrack about my whole life. Since JGR started, I’ve been watching NASCAR, and Interstate has been an iconic paint scheme in the series, so it was an honor to drive for them last year for the first time, and we get to do it again this weekend at Pocono. I’ve been working with them the last couple of years on appearances and other things. A lot of great people and hard-working people who have treated me well, we almost got them a win at New Hampshire last year so it would be great to get those guys to victory lane at a place I’ve already won at a couple of times.”

 

With three wins so far this year, why do you think you and James have really clicked here in 2023?

“Just experience with this racecar, really. I think James and I have always had a great relationship, have always gelled and worked really well together, understand each other. Last year was just one of those years where we had a lot working against us. But we learned a lot, and now we’ve got better racecars. We have a better understanding of them, and that consistency that we’ve shown and the ability to lead laps and win races is proof of that. We never changed a thing with our team, our people, our process, the way we did things. We just have better cars, better understanding of our cars, and showing up to the racetrack ready to roll with a lot of speed this year, and we hope we can continue that this weekend at Pocono.”

 

Do you feel like there’s a separation now in terms of the championship favorites, and do you feel like you’re the favorite?

 

“It doesn’t matter what I think. We’ve got to execute. We’ve got to go win races. We’ve got to get points. I was thinking this week when I saw the points pop up the other day, and I was like, ‘All right, if we have a perfect weekend, we’ll be like one bonus point behind (William) Byron – wait, no, not quite, but close.’ But the regular-season championship is a big deal – 15 points for that. If we can keep knocking off bonus points, that’s going to be very, very important come playoff time. Just keep digging and keep doing what we’re doing. The two weeks before New Hampshire were tough with terrible finishes but really good racecars and really good runs. So we’re doing what we need to do, and just got to keep doing that and trying to keep gaining points.”

 

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