● 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.
● Truex heads to Dover seventh in the driver standings with 281 points, 50 out of the lead.
● First of Many: Truex’s first career NASCAR Cup Series victory came at Dover in June 2007. Its proximity to his hometown of Mayetta, New Jersey, makes Dover his home track, and his record there shows it definitely feels like home. Dover is one of five tracks where Truex has three career wins. In addition to Dover, Truex has won three wins apiece at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
● In his 32 career Cup Series outings at Dover, Truex has three wins, nine top-five finishes, 18 top-10s, and he’s led a total of 1,001 laps. His average Dover finish is 11.8.
● With his aforementioned three Dover wins, Truex is tied for winningest active driver at Dover with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Also, the New Jersey native is tied for most pole awards at Dover among active drivers with JGR teammate Denny Hamlin.
● Truex has run particularly well at Dover since joining JGR in 2019. After scoring his first win for the team at Richmond in April of that year, he followed it up two weeks later with a victory at Dover. Truex has four top-five finishes at Dover in his six starts there with JGR.
● Ahead at this Stage: Truex leads the NASCAR Cup Series with 56 stage wins since the beginning of the stage racing 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.
With Dover hosting the race that’s closest to your hometown in New Jersey, do you view Dover at your home track?
“I view Dover as my hometown track, it’s closest to home. If you could drive across the bay, it would be really close. It’s close to home, for sure. I’ve been going there a long time and it’s a place that means a lot to me, starting early in my Busch Series career, and doing some racing there in my dad’s car, and my first Cup win there, as well. We’ve had a lot of success there, too. It’s a special place for me and I love going there, it feels like home. We have a lot of friends and family who go to that race, as well, and hoping we can get them a win with our Bass Pro Shops Camry.”
When you race at Dover, is it a larger contingent of friends and family than usual who get to attend and watch you race?
“No question, most of my friends and family come to that race. We’ve got quite the cheering section, which is pretty cool. We are racing so much all over the country that it’s nice to see some familiar faces and get to spend a little bit of time with friends and family. Maybe just a little bit of extra time before the race, but definitely well worth it.”
How do you assess your season so far, 10 points-paying races in, and your thoughts on some of the tracks coming up in the next stretch?
“I feel really good about where we are at. We’ve had some missed opportunities, for sure. It was really cool to start off the year winning the Clash out in L.A., and get some confidence and momentum. Since then, it’s been a bit up and down. Richmond was definitely one that got away, but I feel really good about where we are at as a team and, if we can execute some cleaner races, I think we are going to have a shot at winning coming up here soon. There are some really good tracks for me coming up over the next several weeks. We have Dover, Kansas, Darlington, all good tracks for us. You kind of have to throw away Talladega, but I feel like we are gaining momentum coming off good runs at Bristol on the dirt and at Martinsville. Like anything, it’s always about execution. There are so many things that go on in these races that can go the wrong way for you, we just got to keep focused and good things will come.”
Your strong stats at Dover speak for themselves. When the NextGen car arrived, did you lean on what you knew about Dover prior to last year?
“Knowing that track and what you need is always a big deal. With the new car last year, it was quite the learning curve everywhere we went. We really ran strong at Dover, though. We had a shot at winning, and we restarted on the front row late in the race and couldn’t quite get to the lead, and I think we were going for third there on the last lap and got spun out. It was a good race, we were right there really close to being able to win. Hopefully we can use what we learned there last year with our Bass Pro Shops Camry TRD and step it up a couple of notches.”
What do you and your team need to lean on to have a successful race at Dover this weekend?
“Just build on what we learned last year and I think it’s important we qualify well, so hopefully we do that. Generally, when you qualify well there, you get a good pit stall and it sets you up for a smoother day. Staying out front all day long is very important, and track position is very important since it’s hard to pass. It’s a very fast track and you want to keep your track position. Hopefully we can qualify well and it can set us up for a really good day. Corner speeds are so high at Dover that it does become hard to pass. But we’ve also had years where it’s been hard to pass and we’ve driven through the whole field there, like in 2019. You’ve got to get your car dialed in right and, if you can do that, you can do pretty much what you want with it.”