Truex, Cup series make debut at Daytona road course

Welcome to the Daytona road course, Martin Truex Jr.

Martin Truex Jr.

It’s a track that few in NASCAR Cup have driven on let alone raced on but the road course at Daytona International Speedway will be the scene for the series’ first summer race in North Florida.

Airing Sunday, Aug. 16, on NBC, the race will be run on the 12-turn, 3.56-mile course that for years has hosted the Rolex 24 at Daytona. With no practice and no qualifying allowed (at this writing), most drivers will be coming in with virtually no experience here. But if you’re looking for someone who can excel, it might be Martin Truex Jr.

In his last eight races on road courses, the 2017 Cup champion has been impressive with an 8.13 average finish, with three wins, five top fives and six top 10s and 181 laps led without once starting from pole. His most recent victory came in 2019 at Sonoma, when he led the final 24 laps and held off a hard-charging Kyle Busch.

He’s been no slouch, either, in his overall performance in 2020. As of late July, he was seventh in the Cup standings thanks to one win, three top fives and nine top 10s for an average finish of 15.17. His 557 points place him ahead of Alex Bowman but behind Chase Elliott.

Of course, there are others who do well on the windy circuits – Elliott, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin being among them – but Truex is always tough and it’s easy to see how he could be in the mix for the checkered flag come Sunday.

Full name: Martin Lee Truex Jr.

Birth date: June 29, 1980

Birthplace: Trenton, N.J.

Hometown: Mayetta, N.J.

Height/weight: 5 feet 11 inches/180 pounds

Car: No. 19 Toyota Camry

Team: Joe Gibbs Racing

Honors and achievements: NASCAR Busch Series Champion (2004, 2005); NASCAR Busch Series Most Popular Driver (2004, 2005); NASCAR Cup series champion (2017)

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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