Martin Truex Jr. grew up in New Jersey with a desire to follow his father into racing. However, Martin Truex mostly ran on weekends off when he wasn’t running Sea Watch International, which harvests and processes clam products.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver worked as a teenager on his father’s clamming boat, often rising before dawn before a day in rough water, knowing even then that life at sea was not for him.

«I’m glad I figured out how to go fast so I can get out of that boat,» Truex said.


Martin Truex Jr., center, celebrates on Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR 400 auto race at Dover Motor Speedway, Monday, May 1, 2023, in Dover, Delaware. (AP Photo/Jason Minto)

Truex got off the boat, got into stock cars, and after a rocky start to his career, became one of the most dominant drivers of his day. He had accomplished almost everything he could, except celebrate with his brother as winners on a NASCAR weekend.

With dad on the track, Truex dominated the Monster Mile on a Monday for the third time in his career, the former NASCAR champion snapping a 54-race winless streak overall in the Cup Series at Dover Motor Speedway.

Thanks to a race postponed one day due to rain, it was a long weekend for the Truex brothers. Younger brother Ryan Truex won the second-tier Xfinity Series race Saturday for his first NASCAR victory in all three national series in 188 races.

«Ryan’s been through a lot. He’s really worked hard, he’s been hit and knocked down a lot and he’s been through some tough times where he’s had to persevere,» Truex said.

The older brother was the first to stick his head out in Ryan’s Toyota as he pulled it into victory lane. Dad was there to celebrate with both sons.

«He’s pretty quiet when he’s on the track and everything,» Truex said. «But obviously very excited, very proud that both of his children are going to victory lane.»

Ryan Truex was unable to attend Monday’s race.


«We would love to have Ryan in the car,» team owner Joe Gibbs said. «He does a lot of simulation work for us. He’s a dedicated young man, and as everyone knows, it’s hard to get sponsorship.»

Gibbs made repeated phone calls and FaceTimed his friends in victory lane: «I’m going to talk to my wife first,» he said as he momentarily declined an interview request, telling everyone on the other line «it was an end.» Truex Weekend!»

Martin Truex Jr holds up the trophy

Martin Truex Jr. lifts the trophy after winning the NASCAR 400 car race at Dover Motor Speedway, Monday, May 1, 2023, in Dover, Del. (AP Photo/Jason Minto)

«We just won the race at Dover with old Martin Truex!» the team owner nicknamed Coach bellowed into his phone.

Truex Jr. certainly knows how to get to victory lane on the concrete mile track about 130 miles (210 km) from his hometown of Mayetta, New Jersey. Truex, who contemplated retirement last season, has long considered Dover his home track.

Who knew it would be the scene of a victorious family reunion?

The 2017 Cup champion has a plan for how to win the Monster Mile on a Monday. Truex raced to his first NASCAR Cup win on June 4, 2007 at Dover and 12 years later used another rainout to take the checkered flag on May 6, 2019.

Truex also won a regularly scheduled Sunday race here in 2016.

He stayed strong in the outside lane on Monday from the final restart to hold off runner-up Ross Chastain by half a second. Ryan Blaney, William Byron and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.

Byron fell just short after leading a race-high 193 laps in the No. 24 Chevrolet.

«In our history, this has not been our best track,» he said. «We came in with something a little different to try to help. I think it worked for most of the race, but it got too loose.»

Truex bristled at questions that suggested he was on a long losing streak. The 42-year-old had endured far worse than 0 in the win column in the past two years. His 2007 victory at Dover was the only one for him from his Cup debut in 2004 until 2012. It wasn’t until he joined the now-defunct Furniture Row Racing that he became a star.

He won a career-high eight times in 2017 and an overall 23 times from 2016 to 2019. Truex, who made the jump to JGR in 2019, had not won since his last Cup win on Sept. 11, 2021, in Richmond Raceway.

«You have all these races over that period where you think, were we good enough to win, we should have won,» Truex said. «It’s not that we can’t do that, we just have to put it all together.»

Truex opened his 18th full season with an exhibition victory in the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

He had three top-10 finishes this season in the No. 19 Toyota, but couldn’t find his way to victory lane until Monday. He earned his 32nd career Cup win and became the 10th driver to win four or more Cup races at Dover.

And you don’t have to answer to anyone about a losing streak.

«Such a long winless streak,» Truex said. «I’ve only won 32 of these things now guys. It’s really, really hard to win these races guys, okay?»

Martin Truex Jr Burns

Martin Truex Jr. (19) burns after winning the NASCAR 400 car race at Dover Motor Speedway, Monday, May 1, 2023, in Dover, Del. (AP Photo/Jason Minto)


Noah Gragson made the cut.

No, not to victory lane, but to his head as he shaved the sides and left only a mopped strand of hair on top.

Gragson quipped, «I’m going to put it in black, baby,» while holding up a $100 bill autographed by fellow NASCAR driver Austin Dillon as part of the payout for a bet that the Legacy Motor Club driver would get a bowl cut. .

«Some say I lost a bet,» Gragson said. «I think I won».

Gragson finished 34th due to an early crash and hasn’t finished better than 30th in any of his last five races.



NASCAR is heading to Kansas Speedway. Kurt Busch probably won the last race of his career there after he was sidelined by a head injury sustained in a crash at Pocono last summer. Bubba Wallace won the fall race at the track.