It was another magic Monday for Martin Truex Jr. at Dover International Speedway. Almost 12 years ago, the Mayetta, N.J. native won his first career NASCAR Cup Series race at the Monster Mile in an event that was postponed one day because of weather.
Truex earned his 21st career NASCAR Cup Series win and received a golden Monster Trophy for his efforts as part of Dover International Speedway’s 50th anniversary celebration. “We’re two for two on Mondays here,” Truex said. “I saw the trophy in the drivers’ meeting, and I said, that’s pretty awesome. That golden one is special. It’s pretty awesome to win on the 50th anniversary of Dover International Speedway.”
Truex, driving the No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, beat runner-up Alex Bowman to the checkered flag by 9.501 seconds, completing the 400 laps with an average speed of 127.242 mph across 3:08:37. It’s Truex’s third NASCAR Cup Series win at Dover, and he’s the 17th driver to earn three or more Monster Mile wins. “This track is a big reason why I got where I’m at,” said Truex, who ran several Busch North Series (now the K&N Pro Series East) races at the Monster Mile while making his way up through the stock car ranks. “Without tracks like this, I wouldn’t have been able to put myself in position to be here.”
Truex’s challenge was even more daunting after starting in the rear of the field at the beginning of the race due to a weekend inspection failure. He hadn’t made it to the top 10 by the end of the first stage (won by Joey Logano) at Lap 120. His first lap led was the final one of the second stage after he edged Bowman back to the stripe. From there, Truex won the scramble off pit road and controlled the race, taking the lead for the final time when Daniel Suarez was forced to pit on Lap 348. In all, Truex led 132 laps, just shy of Chase Elliott’s race-high 145.
The Monster Mile’s 50th Anniversary celebration will continue Oct. 4-6 with another NASCAR tripleheader weekend. The schedule features the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race on Friday, Oct. 4, the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff race on Saturday, Oct. 5, and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff race on Sunday, Oct. 6. The Oct. 6 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff race will be the 100th NASCAR Cup Series race in track history. Dover International Speedway will be the 10th track in the nation to host 100 NASCAR Cup Series races.