Bass Pro Shops Racing: Martin Truex Jr. Richmond Advance

Notes of Interest

 

● 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 July 17 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.

 

● In addition to his three wins through 21 points-paying races this season, Truex has eight top-five finishes and 11-top10s and has led 763 laps. To put the laps-led number in perspective, he led 572 laps over the entire 36-race points-paying season in 2022.

 

● Truex has three wins, nine top-five finishes and 16 top-10s and has led a total of 1,341 laps in 34 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Richmond. Truex’s average Richmond finish is 15.6.

 

● Truex notched his most recent Richmond win in September 2021, when he led 80 laps en route to his third victory there. All three of Truex’s Richmond wins have come in a JGR car. In fact, in his last 14 races at Richmond, Truex has only finished outside the top-10 twice.

 

● In his last eight races at Richmond, Truex has amassed six top-five finishes, which included the aforementioned three victories.

 

Laps Led: The 1,341 laps Truex has led at Richmond is the most he’s led at the active racetracks on the Cup Series schedule. His next-best track in laps led is Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, where he’s led 1,059 laps.

 

Ahead at this Stage: With his two stage wins at New Hampshire two weeks ago, 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. 

 

● After last weekend’s race at Pocono, where he finished third, Truex remains the leader in the driver standings as the series heads to Richmond. He has 711 points, 30 points ahead of second-place William Byron. The regular-season champion will receive 15 important playoff points when the playoffs start on Labor Day weekend in September. Five races remain in the regular season. 

 

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

 

Once you began having success at Richmond, did it go from toward the bottom to toward the top on the list of tracks you like?

 

“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. We had a great run going there in the spring and thought we had a shot at winning, then we were down a set of tires and the cautions didn’t go our way. I think we’ve improved our program a ton and have been putting on a show at some of the short tracks and places like Richmond. I hope for myself and my team we can get our Bass Pro Shops Toyota back in victory lane there like we’ve done before.”

 

With your success there, what are the challenges that come with racing at Richmond?

 

“I love the track, it’s great. Been very successful there, especially lately with our Bass Pro Shops 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, and that makes it fun and a challenge, and it’s always a good race for the fans.”

 

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

 

“Short tracks were a challenge last year for us. 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 trying not to lock up the rear tires was a challenge. This race in the spring was the first true short track with the downforce taken off, so we definitely learned things. Since then, we’ve learned even more about what we needed to work on at Richmond. We’ve had a lot of strong runs here this summer, and Richmond is a place where I have a lot of confidence in my Bass Pro Shops team.”

 

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