Martin Truex Jr. Captures First Victory With Joe Gibbs Racing

Apr 17, 2019
Photo by: Supplied photo Martin Truex Jr. on April 13 captured his first victory with Joe Gibbs Racing by outlasting Joey Logano in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway.

It took him 81 tries, but Martin Truex Jr. finally snagged victory No. 1 on Richmond Raceway short track on April 13.

“I’m really excited to win here at Richmond,” Truex said immediately after the Toyota Owners 400. “I’ve always really enjoyed this track. I’ve always loved coming here. The short track win – everybody kept asking me when it was going to happen. Tonight, we didn’t have the best car, but we’ve lost here with the best car a bunch of times. We just fought and battled.”

After winning the NASCAR Cup Series championship in 2017 and finishing second behind Joey Logano in last season’s championship race, Truex was forced into a move to Joe Gibbs Racing following the announcement that Furniture Row Racing was calling it quits midway through season.

On Saturday, while it was more of the same for the Gibbs racing team, Truex scored his first win with JGR. The victory also was the 20th of the Stafford Township native’s career.

“We’re just really excited,” Truex said. “Everybody at JGR is doing a great job with Toyota, and it’s just a blessing to drive these racecars and have an awesome team. So, we’ve been chipping away at it and hopefully we get better from here on out.”

Truex gave JGR its third straight victory in NASCAR’s top series and sixth in nine races so far this season. Logano finished .178 seconds behind the winner, as Gibbs and Team Penske maintained their stranglehold on the premier division – Penske drivers Logano and Brad Keselowski were victorious in the three races JGR hasn’t won.

With 40 laps to go, Clint Bowyer closed what had been a two-second gap between Truex and him and made a move to the inside of Truex’s No. 19 with 17 laps left. However, Truex didn’t give up the outside and kept Bowyer behind him. Later on, with nine laps left, Bowyer brushed the wall and gave up the second position to Logano.

Logano ran down Truex and remained on his back end heading into the last few laps. As Truex led Logano into the final lap, Logano tried to make a move around Truex off the second turn, but Truex kept him closed off and went on to victory from there.

“I was struggling the last 40 laps,” Truex said. “I had no front tire and was real tight that last run. I just had to hold them off. Being out front was important tonight. Thanks to the pit crew – they kept us out there. I’m just really proud of everyone, and I’m really happy to get our first win with Gibbs. And the first short-track win is pretty awesome, too.”  —D.B.

 

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