MTJ Cook Out 400 Preview

Martin Truex, Jr. & William Byron

Event Overview

● Event: Cook Out 400 (Round 8 of 36)

● Time/Date: 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 7

● Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway

● Layout: .526-mile oval

● Laps/Miles: 400 laps/210.4 miles

● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 100 laps / Final Stage: 220 laps

● TV/Radio: FS1 / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Notes of Interest

● At the Point: With another top-five finish last weekend at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, Truex continues to lead the point standings. The New Jersey native heads into Martinsville with 270 points, 14 ahead of second-place Kyle Larson. All four JGR entries are currently inside the top-10 in points heading to the eighth race of the season, with Denny Hamlin third, Ty Gibbs in fourth, and Christopher Bell sixth.

● Up Front: Truex led a race high 228 laps last weekend at Richmond and sits second in laps led in NASCAR’s top series. All four JGR Toyota Camry XSE drivers are among the top-five. Larson’s 368 laps led tops the list, followed by Truex at 352, Hamlin with 292, Gibbs with 195, and Bell with 119.

● All three of Truex’s three Martinsville wins in the NASCAR Cup Series have come in his time at JGR, now in its sixth season. He has a total of four top-five finishes with the team at the .526-mile paperclip-shaped oval.

● Truex’s three Martinsville wins are included in his career totals of 10 top-fives and 16 top-10s at the track, and he’s led a total of 1,063 laps in 36 Cup Series outings there. Truex’s average Martinsville finish is 15.9.

● Looking for 35: Truex’s win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon last July was his most recent Cup Series win, the 34th of his career, tying him with 2004 Cup Series champion Kurt Busch for 25th on the all-time Cup Series win list.

● Ahead at this Stage: Truex has accumulated 62 stage wins since the beginning of the stage era in 2017. He is the only driver with 10 or more stage sweeps, with his latest sweep coming at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn last August. Truex scored his first stage win of the season last weekend at Richmond, leading the field across the line at the end of Stage 2.

Martin Truex Jr., Driver of the No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry XSE

When you think about the short-track package and what you learned at Richmond, what are you expecting at Martinsville this weekend?

“Definitely high confidence going into Martinsville compared to the first year of this car. To be able to go run like we did at Richmond, it gives me a lot of confidence going forward that our Martinsville stuff should be good. I love going there, it’s been a really good track for us over the years aside from the first year of the NextGen. Hopefully we can continue that and use that going forward with our Bass Pro Shops Camry.”

How much confidence do you have when going to Martinsville?

“I think we got to a point with the old car that we had some things that really worked for me. We used to have it for a long time, and just did some fine tuning, tweaking here and there. Learning how to race and learning how to win at Martinsville, you learn a lot about the track and what it takes. Then they switched the car and that’s been a challenge for us. Two years ago, we were in trouble there, and then last spring we were kind of hit-or-miss throughout the day. I feel like we are still learning some things there about this car – what do I need here, what are things that kind of turn that switch for me here at this racetrack and do the things that I want it to. I don’t know if we are quite there yet, but you really need to be upfront and be dialed in, so hopefully we can make that happen this weekend.”

How important is qualifying at Martinsville?

“It’s very important. All of the short tracks, qualifying has been huge from starting up front and having a good pit stall. You need both of those at Martinsville to be successful and we were able to win the pole there last fall, which is a huge help for the whole race. Track position is going to be everything.”

What are the challenges of racing at Martinsville as far as navigating it lap to lap and controlling your emotions there?

“The biggest thing is just the beating and banging that happens there and getting knocked out of the way. For me, I’ve really only had one issue there, which was getting taken out of the race at the end in 2018. It gets like that at Martinsville, it’s just a tough track. When it comes down to a few laps to go, you can go down there and blow the corner and run into somebody and can get the spot. That’s where the frustration comes from there, from a lot of drivers over the years.”

In recent years, you’ve raced at Martinsville at night as well as during the day. What’s the biggest difference between night and day racing there?

“It’s really not that different. The biggest change is just when it’s either warmer or cooler. I don’t think nighttime has changed it a whole bunch, maybe just slightly. A lot of it depends on the tire and if it puts rubber down. That’s really the game-changer from our standpoint, it changes the track more than anything.”

No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Team Roster

Primary Team Members

Driver: Martin Truex Jr.

Hometown: Mayetta, New Jersey

Crew Chief: James Small

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

Car Chief: Chris Jones

Hometown: Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia

Race Engineer: Jaik Halpainy

Hometown: Blockville, New York

Engineer: Jeff Curtis

Hometown: Fairfax Station, Virginia

Spotter: Drew Herring

Hometown: Benson, North Carolina

Road Crew Members

Underneath Mechanic: Ryan Martin

Hometown: Mechanicsburg, Virgina

Mechanic: Todd Carmichael

Hometown: Redding, California

Interior/Tire Specialist: Tommy DiBlasi

Hometown: Annapolis, Maryland

Engine Tuner: Beau Morton

Hometown: Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Transporter Driver: Kyle Bazzell

Hometown: Fairbury, Illinois

Transporter Driver: Eddie DeGroot

Hometown: Baldwinsville, New York

Over-The-Wall Crew Members

Gas Man: Matt Tyrrell

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Jackman: Caleb Dirks

Hometown: Riverside, California

Tire Carrier: CJ Bailey

Hometown: Outer Banks, North Carolina

Front Tire Changer: Lee Cunningham

Hometown: Leaf River, Illinois

Rear Tire Changer: Marquill Osborne

Hometown: Cornelius, NC

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.