Martin Truex Jr. is also among those NASCAR Cup Series drivers happy to move Westward this week after suffering another DNF in the Daytona 500 on Monday – his second consecutive DNF in NASCAR’s biggest race. He has only a pair of top fives and four top-10 showings in 30 race starts at Daytona International Speedway.
The 2017 Cup champion has a markedly different record at Las Vegas Motor Speedway; however, he is one of only four drivers on the grid with multiple wins at the track. He won in 2017 en route to his first Cup title and is the most recent winner as well – taking the trophy in last year’s September Playoff opener, one of a series-best seven wins in 2019.
He hasn’t finished worse than eighth in the last five races at Las Vegas, including the two victories and a third-place finish in the 2018 Fall race.
Truex has proven to be particularly adept at the 1.5-mile venues such as Vegas. Just going back three years, the driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has 10 wins, 22 top-fives and 29 top-10 finishes in 33 races on 1.5-mile tracks – an impressive 87.8 percent top-10 showing on 1.5-milers in that time frame.
“I think overall, as a company, we feel really good about where we ended last season with the 550 (horsepower) package,’’ Truex said of the engine package used at the 1.5-mile venues.
“With us winning Vegas in the fall, Denny (Hamlin) winning Kansas and then Kyle (Busch) at Homestead, all of our cars were really fast at those places at the end of the year, so that gives me a lot of confidence going back to Vegas this weekend.
“Everyone has had a few months to work on their stuff and get better so it will be a challenge to keep that advantage we felt like we had late in the season and continue that as we get going with the heart of our season now that Daytona is out of the way.’’