Bass Pro Shops Racing: Martin Truex Jr. Talladega Advance

LAT Images #19: Martin Truex Jr, Joe Gibbs Racing, Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry

● Where We Stand: The New Jersey native heads to Talladega second in the driver standings with 318 points, 17 behind leader Kyle Larson. All four Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) entries are currently inside the top-10 in points heading to the 10th race of the season, with Denny Hamlin third, Ty Gibbs sixth, and Christopher Bell 10th.

● Up Front: Truex led a race-high 228 laps three weekends ago at Richmond (Va.) Raceway and sits third in laps led in NASCAR’s top series. All four JGR Toyota Camry XSE drivers are among the leaders in total laps led on the season. Larson’s 531 laps tops the list for the Cup Series, followed by Hamlin (395), Truex (352) and Gibbs (200) in second, third and fourth, respectively. Bell is eighth on the list with 12 laps led.

● In his 38 career Cup Series outings at Talladega, Truex has three top-five finishes, nine top-10s, and he’s led a total of 95 laps. His average Talladega finish is 21.3.

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

● Ahead at this Stage: Truex has accumulated 62 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. Truex scored his first stage win of the season at Richmond earlier this season, leading the field across the line at the end of Stage 2.

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

You are aiming to get your first Talladega win. What do you work on leading into Talladega that you might not do other weeks? 

“Talladega is a lot different than normal weeks. It’s a lot of strategy and a lot of talk with my teammates and trying to plan to work together to get to the end of that thing. It seems like every time we go back there it’s a little bit different. It’s changed a lot over the years and a lot in the past few. It’s been quite a bit different racing there with this car. Still trying to figure out how to get that first win at Talladega. We’ve been close there before and ran really strong there last year with our Bass Pro Shops Camry, so just looking to build on that and focus on what it’s going to take to try and get our first win there.”

A Talladega win would be your first on a superspeedway-style track – Daytona and Atlanta being the others on the current schedule. Is a superspeedway win something you would really like to have on your resume?

“I would like to, it’s something we put a lot of work and effort into. I would say it’s probably not my best style of racing, but I think Atlanta is our best opportunity, currently. We’ve been really strong there. We just need to put it all together and make the right moves. For us, I think that we are always damaged, so if we can ever get to the end of one of those races and are at the front, we would have a chance. If we get that chance again, we need to be able to figure out how to make the right moves. Would love to be there at the end at Talladega this weekend and have a shot to win with our Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry XSE.”

After running Daytona and Atlanta so far this season with the speedway package, what are your expectations for Talladega this weekend?

“I think it will be similar to Daytona. This car, for whatever reason, just likes to be two-wide, there never seems to be a third lane. There’s a lot of two-wide and a lot of track position – hard to make your way up through the field. You never know, though, it all depends on what everyone is wanting to do. How aggressive does everyone want to be, and will we have a chance at a third lane forming? I don’t know.”

Talladega has made some renovations in recent years to its fan amenities. How have you seen the track change in recent years?

“It’s cool because it’s a good fan experience at Talladega and that’s what it’s really all about, giving the fans something to do throughout the weekend when we are not racing. It’s a really cool setup for the fans. It’s cool that the fans can get up close to the cars now more than ever and they can check out what is going on. Always have a lot of great fan energy when we go to Talladega, for sure.”


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