A more relaxed Martin Truex Jr. looking to fill his dinner plate with some lobster

LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE - JUNE 22: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Reser's Fine Foods Toyota, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Today 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 22, 2024 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Martin Truex Jr.’s last NASCAR Cup Series win came at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and the New Jersey-native would not only love to win again at one of his “home tracks” for sentimental reasons, but a trophy this weekend would absolutely guarantee a spot for him to vie for his final series championship.

Truex announced last week in Iowa that the 2024 season would be his last fulltime campaign in the NASCAR Cup Series and the 2017 series champion would love nothing more than to make another run at the title.

The driver of the No. 19 JGR is ranked 11th in the Playoff outlook standings – the top-ranked driver without a victory to date. But New Hampshire has been one of his best tracks. He’s earned two pole positions, has the 2023 victory, nine top-five and 15 top-10 finishes and is one of only four drivers in history lead at least 1,000 laps. His 1,170 laps out front is most among all active drivers.

“Pretty relaxed, generally,” Truex insisted of his demeanor even after sharing news of his future last week. “I feel relieved that I finally made a decision after thinking about it for the last two years or whatever.

“I think winning here in general is really a big deal,” he added. “Last year was just huge for me personally and my family, and what this place has meant to us over the years. So, to finally win, it was a frustrating thing to come here year after year after year and feel like, ‘man, it got away again.’ So many times, we were in position to win and right there leading laps and things.

“It’s always been a good track for me and so just not having that win for so long, was really really frustrating. So that was a really really big one for us last year so to be able to go back-to-back would be awesome.”

*Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney earned his first victory of the season last weekend in the Corn 350 at Iowa Speedway. He joked this week he’s won at places that have invoked specific memories.

“I feel like this place has been fairly good for us,” Blaney said, adding with a grin, “I’ve always wanted to hold the lobster since I was a little kid so hopefully we can keep adding to our entrees. We got corn last week, could get lobster this week, trying to have a full plate of dinner. We’ll see what we can do.”