By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
DOVER, Del. – After last Saturday night in Kansas, Martin Truex Jr. needed a home game, and Dover International Speedway – the site of Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism (1 p.m. ET on FS1) – is the closest NASCAR track to his native New Jersey.
“It’s always good to come here,” Truex said. “It’s my home track. I love coming up to this race track for a lot of reasons. Of course, being close to home is always neat, but a lot of friends and family come to this race, so it’s always neat to see them.
“Most importantly, I love the race track. Our cars have been fast this year, and I’m looking forward to hopefully going back to Victory Lane, that’s what it’s all about, that’s what we’re here for. I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
Dover has a special place in the fabric of Truex’s career. In 2007, the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota collected the first of his three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories, leading 216 of the 400 laps and winning by 7.355 seconds.
Since then, however, Truex has led more than 100 laps in a race on seven different occasions – and is 0-for-7 in coverting those races into wins. The latest example came last Saturday at Kansas Speedway, where Truex led 172 laps in a dominant car but lost the race when a broken bolt prevented a tire from mounting properly and cost him an extra pit stop.
The saving grace is that, this year, the Furniture Row car has been consistently fast, and Truex has rebounded from the disappointment.
“It’s a lot easier than if you weren’t fast and let one slip away and felt like your chances or the opportunity would be hard to get again or it was going to take a while to get that opportunity again,” said Truex, who was seventh on the speed chart in Saturday’s final Sprint Cup practice.
“It’s definitely easier when you’re running good, and you feel like every time you show up at the race track there’s an opportunity, (and) you can get up there and lead some laps and have a shot at winning. It definitely helps.”
But there’s no medicine like winning, and for Truex, no better place to do it than at Dover.
Image: Sean Gardner/Getty Images