Joe Gibbs Racing veteran Martin Truex Jr. has his sights set on capturing the elusive win in the Daytona 500 race.
Truex Jr., who enters his 20th full-time Cup Series campaign, still has one accolade to add to his name. The 43-year-old driver, who is a two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, and won the NASCAR Cup Series in 2017, has failed to lay his hands on the prestigious Harley J. Earl trophy.
As he enters the 2024 season, what could quite possibly be his swan song campaign, Martin Truex Jr. still believes that he could clinch a victory at the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Speaking to FOX Sports journalist Bob Pockrass, the 2023 regular season champion said:
“I mean obviously I want it, it’d be great, it’d be amazing. I don’t know if I’d be completely disappointed with my career as a whole if someday when I retire, and I look back, and I’m like, ‘Ah, I didn’t win that race’.
Despite the weight of expectation surrounding the Daytona 500, Truex Jr. remains focused on the task at hand, emphasizing his belief in his ability to secure the win. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver added:
“I don’t know if that is a big deal to me or not, I think I still have opportunities to get it done, so I try not to think about it. But it’d be huge, be huge to win for sure.”
What is Martin Truex Jr.’s record at the Daytona 500 race?
The Mayetta, New Jersey native has entered the Great American Race 19 times in his career. Driving for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in his debut campaign, Truex registered a 16th-place finish back in 2006.
The 43-year-old’s best attempt at crossing the Daytona hurdle came in 2016. Driving for Furniture Row Racing, Truex came close to securing the first Daytona 500 win of his career. However, in a thrilling finale, it was his current teammate Denny Hamlin who edged past Truex to secure his first victory at the iconic venue as the latter came in second.
Last season’s Daytona 500 saw Martin Truex Jr. demonstrate his competitive prowess, with strong performances in the race’s stages and leading laps before ultimately finishing 15th after being involved in a late-race multi-car crash.
However, Daytona has historically been a challenging track for Truex Jr., with a track record that includes a 21.4 average finish and his last top-10 finish in the season-opening race dating back to 2016.
It remains to be seen if Martin Truex Jr. can finally end his winless-streak at the Daytona 500 in 2024.