We're not going to bore you with the Dorothy, Kansas, and "there's no place like home" references.
Then again, you have to admit, the Truex brothers must be thinking along those lines right about now. Ryan Truex won his first race in nearly 200 starts in the upper three divisions of NASCAR by taking the Xfinity Series race on Saturday. Then, his big brother Martin Truex Jr. won the rain-delayed NASCAR Cup Series race on Monday, breaking a 54-race winless streak. He edged out the watermelon-tossing Ross Chastain, who did everything he could to tick off everybody on the track, but still couldn't keep up with the veteran driver.
This all came close to home, which the Truex brothers admit they view Dover as.
Martin Truex is clearly the best current driver when it comes to Dover Motor Speedway — and that's hardly an easy thing to say. He'll be the first to tell you that he is just not strong on the plate tracks, so that's four races a year where he's likely not going to do well — leading only about 250 total laps at Daytona and Talladega in a career that spans 73 races and more than 12,000 laps at those two places. He's not fond of Bristol either (four top-10s in 32 starts). But, when it comes to the challenging track that's close to home — Dover — he's led 1,069 laps in just 33 races, and he's the active top winner there with four. He also won twice in the Xfinity Series at Dover.
That puts the older Truex tied with guys like Bill Elliott, Harry Gant, and Mark Martin with four apiece. The elite "next level" of winning of five or more at Dover is a special list — Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon, and David Pearson. That's five of the top six all-time winners in the series (missing only Darrell Waltrip).
The Truex family is originally from the New Jersey town of Mayetta, which is just a two-hours-and-change drive from the Delaware track. It's as close to home as the Truexs are going to get at any track, closer than Pocono and Watkins Glen or any of the Virginia tracks. But, it ain't easy to guide a stock car through this place. For a one-mile venue, the speeds are eye-popping — due in part to the banking in certain areas of the track and the straightaways. It's known as a place where you can't let up, there is no break. It's also a place where aggression is awarded, and cars get pushed to the limit — which is one of the reasons that strokers need not apply when they come here to the Monster Mile, the nickname given Dover.
"It's just special, you know," Truex said in his press conference after Monday's win. "This is a special place. Good day for my family and to see Ryan win Saturday, he's worked so hard for so long to get good opportunities and it's awesome. And then for us, we've given away a few here over the years so it's nice to see it come around our way. Just excited and had a hot rod. Just needed to get it out front."
What an interesting ride Truex has had during his NASCAR career. After winning 32 races at the highest level of racing, it's hard to believe that at one point in the middle of his career, he was considered somewhat of a journeyman. His years spent with now defunct Michael Waltrip Racing and the early years with Furniture Row racing under Barney Visser were a drought period, but then he stunningly won the series championship with outlier Visser when it seemed his career might be winding down. He went six years without a win between 2007 and 2013, for instance, but has been a force in recent years.
And while some tracks might be easier, he dominates one of the most challenging tracks on the circuit — Dover. And he broke that long winless streak and now is in the postseason for sure. He never seems to take the easy way to victory lane.
Yep, you may hate the Dorothy and Kansas mentions, but the Monster Mile and the Wicked Witch of the West didn't prevail this weekend.
One of the good guys did.
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