Photo: Luis Torres/Motorsports Tribune

Truex Jr. Aims to Avenge Texas Misfortune

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

FORT WORTH, Texas — Martin Truex Jr. has sights set on changing his winless record at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

The driver of the No. 19 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing comes in with plenty of momentum after winning last weekend at Martinsville Speedway, which locked him into the Championship 4 for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

However, with two races remaining until he can battle for the title, the focus turns to this weekend at the 1.5-mile Texas oval. It remains one of the few tracks Truex has failed to win at, scoring two runner-up finishes, 15 top 10s, two poles and 605 laps led in 28 races.

When reflecting on his record at Texas, Truex, who finished 12th in the spring race, admitted there wasn’t any singular reason victory has been unattainable.

“Not really, it has been a lot of different things over the years with a lot of different rules and the track changing throughout the years,” said Truex, the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion. “We’ve been close a few times in all situations, so it has not been really one thing. It’s just sometimes – like I talked about in Martinsville last week – it has just hasn’t been our time yet.

“We kind of struggled a little bit here in the spring race, and so looking forward to see what we can do here this weekend with all we’ve learned this year and the things we’ve worked on and the momentum we have and the confidence we have. So hopefully, we can put it to good use this weekend, and do everything right, and get our first win here.”

After finishing second in the championship last season and enduring the emotional toll of Furniture Row Racing – the team he drove for at the time – closing its doors, he and crew chief Cole Pearn moved over to Joe Gibbs Racing.

In 2019, the combination has proved just as lethal as they have collected seven victories, 14 top fives and 21 top 10s through 33 races. Additionally, three of those wins have come in the seven playoff races as the team is averaging a staggering 6.3 average finish. Ultimately, he is just happy to get back to Homestead for the third consecutive year.

“I think for me personally to be able to get back there and have another shot at it is great,” Truex said.

“I think last year was last year. You can’t turn back time, you can’t go back and change things and do things different. I think we did a great job in that race last year. We had a great car. It just didn’t play out the way we needed it to. Sometimes those things happen in racing. There’s a lot of things that need to go your way to win these things. It’s really difficult. I think our strategy will be similar.

“We will go there and try to do the best job that we can do. But just to be able to go back there again, and have that opportunity is huge. It means everything to us. At the start of the year, that is your goal – How do we get to Miami? How do we make the Final Four and get another shot at the championship? I would say it’s completely unrelated to last year.

“We are just ready to go again and try for another one.”

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Joey Barnes is the Founder of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.