The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry locked up his fourth win of the 2021 season on Saturday, Sept. 11, holding off Denny Hamlin at Richmond Raceway. Martin Truex Jr. secured his spot in the Round of 12 and simultaneously drew within reach of a NASCAR Hall of Famer on the Cup Series wins list.
The win at Richmond was the 31st in Truex’s Cup Series career. He now sits 28th all-time, ahead of Carl Edwards (28 wins) and just behind Dale Jarrett. The Hall of Famer has 32 Cup wins, good enough for 27th on the all-time list. Hall of Fame driver Fireball Roberts and Kurt Busch are both tied for 25th with 33 career wins.
Truex has eight more opportunities to win a race and tie Jarrett with 32 wins. He will first pursue this goal on Saturday, Sept. 18, with a trip to Bristol Motor Speedway. He will compete with his fellow playoff drivers in the Bass Pro Shops Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network) in the final Round of 16 race.
Truex First Reached Victory Lane in 2007
The driver of the No. 19 JGR Toyota first began his full-time Cup Series career in 2006 with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. He drove the No. 1 Chevrolet for all 36 races, finishing top-five two times. Truex didn’t win during his rookie season, but he came close with a runner-up in the season finale race at Homestead-Miami behind Greg Biffle.
Truex locked up the first win of his Cup career in 2007. He led 216 laps at Dover International Speedway on June 4 after initially starting 26th and then held off Ryan Newman to take the checkered flag. Truex also set himself up for the first playoff appearance of his career.
Truex only won one race in 2007, but he contended throughout the year with seven top-five finishes and 14 top-10s. He ended the season 11th overall in the Cup Series standings while Jimmie Johnson won the championship.
Truex Suffered Through a Long Winless Streak
Following his first trip to Victory Lane, Truex did not immediately begin stacking wins. He actually went through a winless streak that lasted five full seasons — 2008-2012. However, the situation changed for the better in 2013.
Truex snapped the winless streak during his fourth season driving for Michael Waltrip Racing. He headed down to Sonoma Raceway on June 23 and faced off with Jeff Gordon, the man who retired with a record nine wins on road courses. Truex turned in the best performance, leading 51 of the 110 laps and edging out Gordon for the win.
The veteran driver went without a win in 2014, but he has since become one of the most consistent drivers in the Cup Series. Since 2015, Truex has won at least one race while driving for Furniture Row Racing (2014-2018) and Joe Gibbs Racing (2019-2021). This list of starts includes a career-high eight in 2017 — his championship year — and seven in 2019 when he finished second behind teammate Kyle Busch in the standings.
Truex is in the midst of yet another strong season. He has won four times, including most recently at Richmond to move on in the playoffs. If he continues to display speed and fight for wins each week, he will have the opportunity to tie Jarrett before the end of the 2021 season.