Martin Truex Jr Shows Mixed Feelings About NASCAR Going Night Mode in Richmond

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Joe Gibbs Racing drivers are on a hot streak this year, having claimed two race victories already. All four racers in the team are also expected to dominate the upcoming race at Richmond Raceway. Their history on the track could not be better, as both Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr have multiple wins on the track. Racing Insights projects the latter as a potential Richmond winner.
Truex Jr has delivered stellar races this year, coming close to the checkered flag in Bristol two weeks ago. With an average running position of 8.3, Truex has three wins at the Virginia track. Despite his impressive record, Truex harbors doubts about a Phoenix look-alike race in Richmond.
Martin Truex Jr cautiously talks about the new package in Richmond
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The first testing of the new short track package took place at Phoenix in December. Initially, responses were mixed, but following the January testing, drivers came up with positive reviews. Joey Logano was very pleased with the changes, calling them “the best”. Significantly, Christopher Bell was also very happy, as he was able to make passes which would not have been possible with the earlier package. And as fate would have it, The JGR driver went on to clinch the title at Phoenix, where the package was first implemented.
Now that the short track package moves to Richmond, Martin Truex Jr is feeling jittery about it. Speaking to Bob Pockrass, Truex underlined the nightly venture, “I think the biggest thing here is to target practice here and understand exactly where your car’s at. And then on the race night it’s gonna change even more so, than what we would be racing in the afternoon for practice.”
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Martin Truex Jr further emphasized the uncertainty factor, “So you know with the new package, there’s a lot of guessing going on. I thought our car felt close. Definitely not, didn’t feel like it went as it needed to. Sometimes during the night you’re thinking you’re gonna gain grip and everything’s gonna get a little better, but usually it gets a little worse. So we’ll see how that plays out.”
However, besides these concerns, there is another reason to worry about regarding the new package.
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Traffic problems may stem from the package
Before the Shriner’s Children 500 flagged off in Phoenix, NASCAR was abuzz with speculation about how well the new package would perform. One overarching factor seemed to influence this topic: traffic. Phoenix winner and 2023 Cup champion Ryan Blaney emphasized, “I think the biggest thing…when we mess with rules packages like this — the goal for this package was being better in traffic; that’s the whole thing,”
Similarly, Martin Truex Jr is harboring the same concern regarding the Toyota Owners 400 in Richmond. When Pockrass asked him about how the practice session felt, Truex replied with mixed views, “Yeah, it definitely felt a little different. Honestly, just felt a little slower. But the car felt more consistent, which was interesting. Traffic seemed worse.”
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Although Martin Truex Jr is apprehensive about Richmond, we are sure the 34-time Cup Series winner will be a tough racer to beat in the upcoming race.

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