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Martin Truex Jr. Readies for Homecoming at Dover

Martin Truex Jr. enjoys a homecoming trip to Dover Motor Speedway. (Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

Martin Truex Jr. enjoys a homecoming trip to Dover Motor Speedway. (Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

DOVER, Del. – One of the few, oft-discussed topics when Martin Truex Jr.’s name is brought up is the subject of his hometrack.

Admittedly, the Mayetta, New Jersey native has a fondness for the Northeast based tracks of the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Mainly, Dover Motor Speedway is the closest to his childhood hometown.

The 42-year-old racer kicked off his weekend with a respectable showing in the sole, on-track session of the weekend with the seventh quickest time in practice.

“Glad to be here. I mean, it’s one of my favorites, so I love being here,” Truex said. “I felt like our Bass Pro Shops Camry was pretty good in practice and wish we could have got to qualify. I definitely think we could have done better than where we were going to start based off of last week’s finish.

“But yeah, so I think we were seventh overall, which was OK and went out early, wore tires out really, really fast.”

Beyond a bit of hometown cooking, Truex is in the midst of a perplexing 54 race winless drought. Needless to say, the 2017 Cup champion points out how frustrated is beyond the operative word to describe his dryspell.

“I don’t know that frustrated is really the right word of how we’re feeling,” he said. “Just trying to worry about what we can control and worry about those things and try to do the best we can. It’s been tough for sure, but we’ve had some real heartbreakers along the way. And hopefully one of these days things will will go the way we need them to. We’ve been getting better, I feel like, and I feel like we’re really right on the edge of doing some great things.

“The last couple of weeks have been really good for us. Like I said, last weekend was unfortunate. The last green-white-checker, 2 or 300 more feet, I was good to go and I would have finished like fourth. So we’ve been consistently up front and we just need to keep doing that and keep working hard at it.”

Truex knows his way around "The Monster Mile" with three wins. (Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

Truex knows his way around “The Monster Mile” with three wins. (Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

Presently, Truex ranks a respectable seventh in the points standings with his podium at Martinsville and three total top 10 results. Of course, he hopes the talk about his winless spell ends on Monday afternoon.

“Knowing that track and what you need is always a big deal,” he said in a team press release. “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.”

With the 400-miler scheduled for Monday at noon ET (FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Truex is cognizant of the changing track conditions with short and long green flag run in spite of Dover’s concrete surface. Similarly, he points out to an unlikely track that shares a common thread a few states due Southwest.

“It just depends on the rubber and how much it goes down and how the groove moves with the temperatures and the cool air and the mist,” Truex said. “We literally put no rubber down at all and (in) 15 laps, our tires were gone. So hopefully, that won’t be the case in the race.

“We’ll get some rubber laid down and then the track changes a lot. And kind of like Martinsville’s concrete turns, (it) just really, really changed a lot with the rubber going down. So, however that rubber goes in the track will really affect the race and how our cars drive and what we need in them.”

Editor’s Notes

Nathan Solomon contributed to this article directly on-site from Dover Motor Speedway in Dover, Delaware.

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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