Notes of Interest
● Team Toyota: Truex will make his 400th Cup start in a Toyota Camry in Sunday’s 312-lap race at Phoenix.
● Truex and the No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry team for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) set the tone for the season right out of the gate by winning the 150-lap feature in the non-points Clash at the Coliseum on Feb. 5. Truex won his heat race, then went on to lead the final 25 laps of the feature en route to the victory.
● Truex has one win, six top-five finishes and 12 top-10s and has led a total of 259 laps in 34 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Phoenix. Truex’s average Phoenix finish is 15.6.
● Truex notched his lone Phoenix victory in March 2021, when he led 64 laps en route to the win.
● Ahead at this Stage: Truex leads the NASCAR Cup Series with 56 stage wins since the beginning of the stage era in 2017. He is the only driver with 10 or more stage sweeps, as well. While Truex came close to winning a stage at the season-opening Daytona 500, he does not have a stage win so far this year. Last weekend at Las Vegas, Truex finished sixth and fourth, respectively, in the opening two stages and collected valuable points that could prove important at the end of the regular season.
● With his seventh-place finish at Las Vegas last weekend, Truex heads to Phoenix fifth in the standings with 102 points, 27 out of the lead, as the Cup Series finishes off its three-race West Coast swing in the Arizona desert.
Martin Truex Jr., Driver of the No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry TRD
What is the biggest challenge for you when racing at Phoenix?
Phoenix is very straightforward looking, but the two ends are so different that it’s a big challenge to get your car working good, especially with the NextGen car having come around, and we are shifting a bit. It’s definitely a fun place and it’s been really racy there the last couple of years and I enjoy going there. I feel like we needed a little bit more in Vegas and hopefully we have that this weekend in Phoenix with our Bass Pro Shops Toyota.”
Let’s say you are in the lead on the final restart at Phoenix. What’s going through your mind?
“I think just getting a good jump and getting through turns one and two. That dogleg breeds opportunities to cut the corner. If you can get to turn one with a little bit of a cushion, you are in generally good shape, so it’s all about the restart there to be able to maintain the lead and be able to bring it home.”
Your team changed the over-the-wall pit crew, but the road crew guys are the virtually the same. How do you feel about your team after the first four events of the season?
“We really had no changes to our team guys that work on the car all weekend. That’s a group that is very good, and James (Small, crew chief) does a great job leading those guys. We think in the long term our over-the-wall guys are going to help us a ton. Just looking forward to taking advantage of opportunities. James took a gamble at Vegas and put us in position to steal one, we just didn’t get the two or three other guys that we needed to gamble with us and we finished seventh instead of maybe third or fourth, so that was worth a chance. We had a good season last year but we didn’t get a win, but we had a lot of opportunities to do that and it slipped away. That’s what we are focused on, trying to limit our mistakes and trying to be better more consistently. I think the changes NASCAR has made to the cars will help us on the short tracks and other places where we struggled last year. We’ll have a little extra practice this weekend on Friday to get dialed in and see where our Bass Pro Shops Camry stacks up with some of the package changes that were made.”