Race Weekend Central

After 13 Years & 5 Second-Place Finishes, Ryan Truex Finally Has His Win

DOVER, Del. – In Saturday’s (April 29) NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Dover Motor Speedway, Ryan Truex made it look easy.

The No. 19 car quickly worked its way up to the top five less than 15 laps after starting 12th, and Truex then powered his way to the lead by lap 34. The early show of muscle was a sign of things to come for the rest of the afternoon.

All in all, Truex won the first two stages, led 124 of the 200 laps and won by nearly five seconds over second-place finisher Josh Berry.

See also
Ryan Truex Scores 1st Career Win at Dover

To someone watching NASCAR for the first time, the race looked like a flawless display of domination. But for Truex, it was all that and more: it was a statement that changed the trajectory of his career overnight.

And after 13 years and 188 combined starts between NASCAR’s top three divisions, Truex is a winner in NASCAR’s top three series at last.

“Just so thankful to be here. This is amazing,” Truex told FS1 after the race. “What a car. What an amazing Supra. I’m speechless. I thought I’d be more emotional right now, but when I crossed the flag, I couldn’t even talk on the radio, and I’m not an emotional guy. This is for everyone that doubted me.”

It came down to a 94-lap green flag run to the finish, and while Austin Hill opened the final stage out front after taking the lead on pit road, Truex took the lead right back with 88 laps to go and left everyone else in the dust.

“That long run there, that first 50 laps, I was trying to take care of my tires,” Truex told the media in his post-race press conference. “I was having radio problems. I couldn’t hear them very well, and I was waiting for them to tell me to pit, and I was nervous that I wasn’t going to be able to understand them and miss pit road.

“We pitted and gave up a little time getting into pit road, just trying to be cautious. So easy to miss pit road here. I haven’t raced here since 2018, so I didn’t really have a good idea on where I needed to start slowing down.”

Although Truex had a slow stop, he cycled back to the lead with 11 laps to go while commanding a five-second lead.

“Leaving pit road, it was just hoping that a caution didn’t come out,” Truex said.

Part-time with Joe Gibbs Racing since the start of 2022, Dover marked the penultimate scheduled start for Truex in the 2023 season. But after his dominating performance at The Monster Mile, it’s clear that both parties are looking for more going forward.

“Obviously, I’ve said many times that my goal is to stay with Joe Gibbs Racing and go full-time Xfinity racing,” Truex said. “I talked to coach (Joe Gibbs) on the phone after the race and said, ‘we got to figure out how to make this happen,’ and he agreed.

“I think that’s the next step, is figuring out how to do that. And if I can drive one of these cars every week and be on the track every week with this team and this group, I feel like we can win a lot of races and definitely compete for a championship.”

In a career that has spanned 26 NASCAR Cup Series races, 74 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races and 89 Xfinity races across 15 different teams in almost 13 calendar years, Truex’s first foray into the big leagues was his Xfinity debut with Michael Waltrip Racing on July 17, 2010, at 18 years old.

And in those 13 years, Truex was one spot short of the summit on five occasions: twice in the Truck Series and thrice in the Xfinity Series.

See also
Xfinity Wraps Up 2023 Dash 4 Cash By Hosting The Green Beret Project at Dover

Truex’s first runner-up finish in a truck was at Daytona International Speedway in 2016, where he led the white flag lap but was passed by Johnny Sauter right before a caution ended the race. Flash forward a year later to New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Truex once again had to settle for second after getting passed for the lead by Christopher Bell with 16 laps remaining.

On the Xfinity side, Truex scored runner-up finishes at Phoenix Raceway in both 2019 and March of this year. But his first runner-up finish – and his closest shot at Xfinity Series glory – came at none other than Dover in June 2012.

Truex began that weekend at Dover with his first (and so far, only) Xfinity pole. And in a race where JGR finished 1-2-3, Truex was in the lead with just under 10 laps remaining. He, however, also had to deal with teammate Joey Logano, who had finished the day with 154 laps led. When Truex checked up from lapped traffic with six laps to go, Logano took advantage and sailed by Truex for the lead and the win.

After a long 11-year wait, Truex finally got to hoist Miles the Monster in 2023.

“Yeah, I felt like if I could always go back to Dover and redeem myself for that race all those years ago, that it would be pretty special,” Truex said.

And at Dover, Truex’s home track, the site of what had been one of his most agonizing defeats and the site of his older brother Martin Truex Jr’s first Cup win in 2007, everything came full circle.

About the author

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Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch and is a three-year veteran of the site. His weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” He also writes commentary, contributes to podcasts, edits articles and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage.

Can find on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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kb

Oh lord. Is Stephen a fan of the non-producing over a decade plus years of Ryan sucking at his job? Trying to prop him up? Actually, letting us know each time he came up short, as if it was…I dunno worth mentioning? Whoever writes about 2nd place in a historical context spreading over a decade? To try and prop up this driver, who by the way looks like he is the hairy Bigfoot in the beef jerky commercials, imo. .

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