DOVER, Del. - Martin Truex, Jr. is happy to come to his home track, but he also understands its pivotal role in his plan to move through the Round of 12 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Truex got the first of his 19 career victories in 2007 at Dover International Speedway, the closest track to his Mayetta, New Jersey, hometown. He won again at the Monster Mile in the fall race of 2016, and his average finish in 25 starts at the concrete track is 12.0.
In the last nine races at Dover, Truex has finished outside the top 10 only once, and that was an 11th-place run in 2015.
Truex is also strong at Kansas Speedway, site of the October 21 elimination race in the Round of 12. He won both races at the 1.5-mile track during his 2017 championship season. All told, Truex has led 726 laps at the Kansas City facility.
What worries Truex is the race that falls between Dover and Kansas – the free-for-all at Talladega Superspeedway. The driver of the No. 78 Furniture has failed to finish the last four events at the 2.66-mile track, thanks to an engine failure and three crashes.
In 27 starts at Talladega, Truex has posted two top fives and has led a mere 52 laps. No wonder he feels he needs to establish a safety net at Dover and Kansas.
“Talladega is a wild card, and we haven’t had much luck there, so we need to make sure we shine at Dover and Kansas to make the next round on our own and not worry about what other drivers are doing,” said Truex, who starts the Round of 12 in third place, with a cushion of 38 Playoff points.
Truex was leading last Sunday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course when contact from Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet sent him spinning into the outside wall at the exit from the final chicane. Truex finished 14th.
“We had the performance to win all three of the races in the first round,” said Truex, who ran third at both Las Vegas and Richmond in the first two races of the Round of 16.
“Came so close at Charlotte but got spun out just before the finish line. Hopefully, we’ll get that win when we really need it.”
Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400 would be good for starters.
-Driver Carl Edwards, who retired unexpectedly from NASCAR racing after the 2016 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, will be inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. Edwards will become the 20th member of the hall during an induction ceremony on Saturday, November 3, during AAA 500 Texas Playoff tripleheader weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Edwards picked up his final Cup victory at Texas during the 2016 Playoffs…
-Rain forced cancellation of Saturday’s first scheduled Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Dover, but the precipitation abated in time for Happy Hour. Kyle Larson topped the speed chart at 19.011 mph, followed by two drivers eliminated from the Playoffs last Sunday at Charlotte – Denny Hamlin and Eric Jones. Playoff drivers Aric Almirola and Chase Elliott were fourth and fifth fastest, respectively.
WDUN will have live MRN Radio coverage of Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Gander Outdoors 400 beginning at 1 pm on 102.9 FM and streaming live on AccessWDUN.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Dover International Speedway – Dover, DE
Gander Outdoors 400 – October 7, 2018
Sunday’s Starting Lineup
1. 18 Kyle Busch (P) Interstate Batteries Toyota Charter Team Owner
2. 4 Kevin Harvick (P) Busch Outdoors Ford Charter Team Owner
3. 78 Martin Truex, Jr. (P) 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota Charter Team Owner
4. 2 Brad Keselowski (P) Wurth Ford Charter Team Owner
5. 14 Clint Bowyer (P) Haas VF1/Rush Truck Centers Ford Charter Team Owner
6. 22 Joey Logano (P) Shell Pennzoil Ford Charter Team Owner
7. 41 Kurt Busch (P) Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Charter Team Owner
8. 12 Ryan Blaney (P) PPG Ford Charter Team Owner
9. 9 Chase Elliott (P) NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
10. 42 Kyle Larson (P) Credit One Bank Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
11. 10 Aric Almirola (P) Smithfield Ford Charter Team Owner
12. 88 Alex Bowman (P) Axalta Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
13. 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
14. 3 Austin Dillon AAA Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
15. 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota Charter Team Owner
16. 20 Erik Jones Craftsman Toyota Charter Team Owner
17. 31 Ryan Newman Waste Masters Solutions/22 in 22 Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
18. 21 Paul Menard Menards/Tarkett Ford Charter Team Owner
19. 19 Daniel Suarez ARRIS Toyota Charter Team Owner
20. 1 Jamie McMurray GEARWRENCH Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
21. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fastenal Ford Charter Team Owner
22. 24 William Byron # Hendrick Autoguard Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
23. 37 Chris Buescher Scott Products Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
24. 47 A.J. Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
25. 95 Regan Smith Dumont JETS Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
26. 38 David Ragan MDS Transport Ford Charter Team Owner
27. 34 Michael McDowell Love’s Travel Stops Ford Charter Team Owner
28. 6 Matt Kenseth Wyndham Rewards Ford Charter Team Owner
29. 43 Darrell Wallace, Jr. # World Wide Technology Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
30. 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
31. 32 Matt DiBenedetto Can-Am/Wholey Ford Charter Team Owner
32. 15 Ross Chastain(i) Use Your Melon Drive Sober Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
33. 72 Corey LaJoie Factor One Source Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
34. 00 Landon Cassill(i) StarCom Fiber Chevrolet Charter Team Owner
35. 23 J.J. Yeley(i) Toyota Charter Team Owner
36. 51 B.J. McLeod(i) Jacob Companies Ford Charter Team Owner
37. 96 Jeffrey Earnhardt Xtreme Concepts/iK9 Toyota Open Team Owner Points
38. 66 Timmy Hill(i) Ternio Toyota Open Team Owner Points
39. 52 Harrison Rhodes The Medicine Shoppe Chevrolet Open Team Owner Points