The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, June 6, for a road course race in wine country. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. is seeking his third consecutive win at Sonoma, but he won’t have any practice laps to prepare. He will still enter the weekend with confidence due to past performances.
Speaking with Heavy and other media members on Wednesday, June 2, Truex explained that he does have confidence ahead of the weekend but only to a point. He knows that success is fleeting and that past wins at a specific track do not guarantee future checkered flags. Though he has plenty of notes to revisit ahead of the weekend to help him prepare.
“Yeah, for sure. I think any time that you go to a track where you’ve had past success and you have confidence in what you need to do and approach it, I think it’s always a good thing,” Truex told Heavy. “It’s never a guarantee. We’ve had the past few weeks a couple tracks where we’ve been really good in the past, and we struggled.
“NASCAR is a humbling sport. You can win five races in a row and then not finish five races in a row. We’ll see. I’m obviously looking forward to it and optimistic and have confidence. But that doesn’t guarantee anything, so we will see what we can do.”
Truex is the Current Active Wins Leader at Sonoma
The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing currently has three wins at Sonoma in his Cup Series career, the most of any active driver. Teammate Kyle Busch has two while Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick has a win of his own. Kurt Busch is the only other active driver with a win at the road course.
Truex only has to win two more times at Sonoma in order to reach the all-time mark at Sonoma. Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon reached Victory Lane five times during his Cup Series career, including a three-year streak from 1998-2000. He won two more times, 2004 and 2006, before retiring in 2016.
“I’ve always enjoyed road course racing. We’ve been going [to Sonoma] for a long time, obviously,” Truex said during a press conference that Heavy attended. “I’ve been able to figure out some tricks and some things that work for me. And then really just dialing the car into the way I like to approach the track and look for in a car.
“We’ve been lucky to have great teams, great race cars out there at Sonoma. For whatever reason, it’s been a really, really good place for us. We need to get some momentum back. This will be a good place to do it this weekend.”
Truex is Locked Into the Playoffs After Previous Strong Performances
While the driver of the No. 19 JGR Toyota Camry has three finishes outside of the top 15 in the past three weeks, he still has the most wins in 2021. Truex took the checkered flags at Phoenix, Martinsville, and Darlington to lock himself into the playoffs.
The veteran is currently sixth in points due to the recent struggles, but he continues to stack playoff points with his stage and race wins. These will be crucial when the chase begins and the drivers fight to stay alive during the first three cutoff rounds.
Of course, Truex has the goal of continuing to perform at a high level, especially with the other competitors on his heels. Hendrick Motorsports drivers Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson both have two wins apiece. Their teammates William Byron and Chase Elliott each have one trip to Victory Lane. The Hendrick Motorsports stable has been the best in recent weeks while Truex has dealt with issues on the track.
The Sonoma race will bring these trends to a head considering that Elliott has a reputation as a road course master while Truex has the most wins among active drivers at the California track. Will the veteran driver win his third straight at Sonoma, or will the defending Cup Series champion inch closer to Gordon’s all-time road course wins record?
The drivers will provide the answer on Sunday, June 6. The race will take place at 4 p.m. ET on FS1 with MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio providing audio coverage. Gordon, Clint Bowyer, and Mike Joy will call the action from the booth while Jamie Little and Regan Smith provide updates from pit road. America’s Crew Chief Larry McReynolds will join the broadcast from the Fox Sports studio to provide analysis.