Truex promotes Dover race at Pocono event

 

Martin Truex Jr. raises the trophy after winning the race at Dover International Speedway in October. NASCAR returns to Dover June 4 for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism. (Delaware State News file photo)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Martin Truex Jr. always enjoys a trip back home to the Mid-Atlantic region.

It doesn’t even matter if he’s racing or not.

“I’ve got a lot of secret fishing holes I like to hit up here,” the NASCAR driver said.

This week, it was softball that brought Truex Jr. into the area. He, along with Matt Kenseth, participated in the fifth annual Dover vs Pocono Rivalry Day, hosted by the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs, the AAA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

Truex suited up for Team Dover — the home track for the Mayetta, N.J., native while local media personalities filled out the rosters. The day involved a combination of softball, a few innings of kickball and some fan-participation activities in between innings.

The game was settled with a go-kart race around the warning track between the two Monster Energy Series Cup drivers.

It got off the a shaky, albeit humorous start.

Truex’s go-kart would not fire up, leading to some good-natured ribbing by Kenseth and laughter throughout the stadium. Once the Irongpigs staff figured out the car was out of gas, and once it was refueled, the race got underway.

Truex got off to a slow start, allowing Kenseth to lead wire-to-wire, giving Team Pocono a 40-run bonus which allowed it to earn a come-from-behind victory over Team Dover. Team Dover still leads the overall series between the two tracks 3-2.

“I jumped the start and still spun my tires,” Truex joked after the event which also featured autograph sessions with fans. “We all had a good time and it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it.”

The event was set up to promote the upcoming NASCAR weekends at both race tracks. The AAA 400 Drive for Autism is set for June 4 at the Monster Mile and the Pocono 400 set for the following Sunday.

While his go-kart might have experienced a little bit of trouble, Truex hasn’t had much trouble on the track this season.

He is off to one of the best starts of his career in 2017. He is currently second in the Monster Energy Series point standings behind Kyle Larson.

Of the nine races this year, Truex has finished in the top-10 in six of them. That includes a victory at Las Vegas in the third race of the season.

This all comes after a breakout season in 2016 that saw Truex establish himself as a championship contender.

“I feel good,” Truex said. “We’ve been running consistently toward the front which you hope to do. We’ve got a win under our belt which is definitely a good thing. All in all the team is doing a good job of being consistent and being solid, really continuing what we did last year.

Truex will no doubt relish the chance to return to his home track on June 4. He won the last race held at Dover back in October.

Still he knows he can’t look too far ahead with four races still on the schedule before NASCAR arrives at the Monster Mile.

“The sport changes so fast week to week you’ve got to enjoy yourself along the way,” he said. “Hopefully you can have fun and just keep working hard because you never know what next week will bring.”

 

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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