If it seems like Martin Truex Jr. has been going to hometown tracks the past few weeks, it’s because he actually has.
First it was Dover (May 15) the closest venue to where Truex was raised in Mayetta, N.J. Then the series moved Charlotte, near his current place of residence. After Charlotte, the schedule headed north to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, which is the second closest track from his native New Jersey hometown.
Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 Sprint Cup Series race will be conducted at Michigan International Speedway, and that begs the question, “Does Michigan International Speedway even remotely rank as a Truex home track?”
Well, it really doesn’t except it feels like one for the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota. The one connection he has to the Wolverine State is that his girlfriend Sherry Pollex is a Michigan native (Brighton) and an ardent Red Wings fan.
“Let’s just call Michigan an adopted home track and state,” said Truex, who usually arrives early to Michigan for an annual fishing trip. “We have a blast each time we go to Michigan, catch a lot of fish -- and please don’t ask where because I am not giving away any secrets where the fish are biting.”
While Truex can keep his fishing locations a secret, he can’t hide some of the recent success he has enjoyed. He won the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, leading 392 of 400 laps, and is currently the lap season leader at 809. Regarding the 2-mile Michigan track in Brooklyn, Truex had two strong outings there last year with third-place finishes in each race.
“Michigan is one of those tracks where we feel we can do well and contend for the win,” noted Truex. “I have had success there, had a couple of runner-up finishes and ran well in last year’s races.”
For Truex’s crew chief Cole Pearn and one of the team’s engineers Ryan Kelly, Michigan is also a home track of sorts for the two Canadians -- it’s the closest NASCAR Sprint Cup facility to their home in London, Ontario.
Another hometown connection for Truex is that his No. 78 Toyota will carry a new associate sponsor decal for this weekend’s race – Auto-Owners Insurance, a Lansing, Michigan-based company, which will also be a primary sponsor on Truex’s Furniture Row Racing entry in three upcoming Sprint Cup races – Indianapolis, Darlington and Martinsville.
“Having a Michigan company, Auto-Owners Insurance on the car is one more reason to have a strong showing on Sunday,” stated Truex. “We welcome Auto-Owners Insurance to our stable of sponsors and look forward to working with them throughout the year.”
Truex, who is coming off a disappointing weekend at Pocono with a 19th-place finish, is 100 percent focused on Michigan.
“We didn’t hit it right in Pocono and had a couple weird incidents on pit road that prevented us from making any kind of move,” said Truex, who was the defending champion of the Pocono event. “You take what is given to you and move on. And right now it’s all about Michigan.”
Michigan, Another Home-Cooking Track for Truex Jr.
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