Interstate Batteries Racing: Martin Truex Jr. Pocono Advance

LAT Images #19: Martin Truex Jr, Joe Gibbs Racing, Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, #11: Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Mavis Tires & Brakes Toyota Camry

● Outrageously Dependable for 33 Years and Counting: Interstate Batteries has 11 primary sponsorships on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule in 2024, a similar number of schemes to last year’s expanded presence among all four Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Toyota Camry XSEs. Christopher Bell and Ty Gibbs were slated to run the majority of the Interstate Batteries races with eight primaries in all between the two drivers. Denny Hamlin piloted the Interstate Batteries machine for two races this season and now Martin Truex Jr. is carrying the primary Interstate Batteries sponsorship for the one and only time this season at Pocono in the midst of his final season as a fulltime Cup Series driver.

● Where We Stand: The New Jersey native sits fifth in the driver standings with 601 points, 70 behind leader Kyle Larson. All four JGR entries are currently inside the top-10 in the standings with Denny Hamlin fourth, Bell eighth and Gibbs ninth as the series heads to the Pocono Mountains this weekend.

● Truex has two wins, seven top-five finishes and 15 top-10s and has led a total of 257 laps in 34 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono. Truex’s average Pocono finish is 14.1.

● Truex notched his second and most recent Pocono win in June 2018, 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.” 

● 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.  

● Looking for 35: Truex’s win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon in July 2023 was his most recent Cup Series win, the 34th of his career, tying him with 2004 champion Kurt Busch for 25th on the all-time Cup Series win list.

● Ahead at this Stage: Truex has accumulated 63 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 second stage win of the season at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway in April, leading the field across the line at the end of Stage 1.

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

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. 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. 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. 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 the last couple of years, and we get to do it again this weekend at Pocono one more time. 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 Pocono 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.”

What does it take to be successful at Pocono?

“Pocono really tests every aspect of your car – horsepower, downforce, you name it. You’ve got to make your car work in all three corners and each one is so different, it’s a challenge. The setup has to be spot on because all three corners are unique. It’s really hard to make your car work around there. Track position is key, so you have to qualify well and you have to have a fast car, but you have to have the right strategy, too, because if you get off strategy and lose track position, it’s going to be a tough day. The NextGen car has been even more track-position sensitive than before, so you have to try to stay near the front all day. You have to have a good racecar there and I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of them over the years there and we’ve had some success. I know the guys will bring a good car this weekend and would love to get Interstate Batteries to victory lane there.”

You went to Pocono as a kid with your dad when he ran the road course there. What are your early memories of going to Pocono?

“I remember going there as a kid and my dad ran the Race of Champions there. They ran that weird pit-road track. I was so young I really don’t remember a lot about it. I remember seeing the street stocks and they were squealing the tires and running into each other and crashing like crazy. I remember the street stocks there and those were my early memories of Pocono, and never raced there again until I was in the Cup Series. It was definitely a different time. I remember staying in hotels that had heart-shaped hot tubs as a kid and they’re probably still there, so that was pretty crazy.”

What are your memories from your first Pocono win back in 2015, when you were with Furniture Row?

“The 2015 win was huge because we had been in a drought for a couple of years. We had a new group of guys, which ended up being our championship group. At that point, we were still a young team and things were feeling like they were coming together. We had been in position to have a chance to win a few races that season up to that point, so it was really good to get our first win together. It was a big deal for all of us. I think it just kind of got the ball rolling for us and, in 2014, everybody knows how bad we struggled. It was a huge deal for all of us, and for Barney (Visser, team owner) – being his second win. It was the first time that we were competitive each and every week and we were up front a lot, leading laps and doing a lot of good things, so it was cool to check that off the list. And who would have thought how the next few years would have gone. It was an incredible run and the start of a really special group.”

● Event: The Great American Getaway 400 (Round 21 of 36)

● Time/Date: 2:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 14

● Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway

● Layout: 2.5-mile triangle

● Laps/Miles: 160 laps/400 miles

● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 30 laps / Stage 2: 65 laps / Final Stage: 65 laps

● TV/Radio: USA Network / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio


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