Martin Truex Jr. has four victories this year – his first season driving the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota – and shows up at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this week likely wondering what it’s going to take to score his first win at the track.
He’s led at least 100 laps in four of the last five races on the Loudon one-miler. Of his 744 career laps led at the facility, he’s led 596 laps in that five-race span. He finished top-10 in five of the last six races and has 11 top-10 showings in 25 total starts. Yet third place (in 2007 and 2017) marks his highest finish.
However, the 2017 Monster Energy Series champ’s 11.0 average starting position and 12.6 average finishing position at New Hampshire are tops among tracks where he has yet to win a Cup race.
The Loudon mile has actually been a very positive part of Truex’s personal racing history. He earned his first ever NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win there from the pole position in 2000 – leading all 101 laps of the race – and won again from pole in 2003. He answered with a victory in the 2005 NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
And there’s plenty of reason to believe this may be the year Truex earns a Cup trophy. He has certainly delivered on great expectations in 2019. After winning his first race this year – at Richmond in mid-April – Truex was winning about every other week. It’s been nearly a month, however, since his last visit to Victory Lane – at Sonoma, Calif. He finished ninth at Chicagoland, 22nd at Daytona, and 19th at Kentucky last weekend.
“New Hampshire has been one of our better tracks the past few years,’’ Truex said. “It’s kind of like Richmond in that we have run up front and led a lot of laps, just haven’t closed the deal to get to victory lane. Obviously we were able to finally win at Richmond this year, so hopefully we can do the same this week.’’