It’s a victory lane moment that was a long time coming.

It took 30 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) races for Martin Truex Jr. to reach the most hallowed ground at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS). He had already earned entry from winning in lower series in previous years. His father and brother had too.

But last year, on a rare makeup Monday in the Granite State, everything came together.

“For me, it was a big box to check the finally get the Cup Series win there,” Truex said earlier this month. “I won in the North Series and the Busch Series back in the day. That Cup win, we had lost it every way you could imagine it felt like. We had always run well there, led laps, ran fast and had a lot of heartbreakers. It was fun to finally, finally check that box and get a win at a place that’s very special to me.’

It’s at NHMS where the now 43-year-old Truex saw his hero, Dale Earnhardt Sr., up close for the first time. It’s the first premier track that he got behind the wheel at in major competition. And “The Magic Mile” was the first place he saw then-Winston Cup race for the checkered flag.

“Loudon was always one I really, really wanted,” Truex said. “I feel like the ones you want the most are the hardest to get. It felt great to go to victory lane and remember what it was like coming up in my career going to that victory lane and all the stuff that had happened in between – it all crossed my mind. It was really a special moment.”

Now, fresh off announcing his retirement from full-time Cup Series competition following the 2024 season, Truex returns to NHMS, the site of his 34th and latest Cup victory, to defend his title and headline a field of America’s best drivers in Sunday’s USA TODAY 301 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) race.

While Truex, driving the No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, is in a comfortable playoff position in the point standings, he enters New Hampshire still seeking his first win of the season which would lock down a post-season slot. Racing luck also hasn’t been on the 2017 NCS champion’s side recently, as he has gone five straight races without a top-10 finish.

So it may be fortunate timing for Truex that “The Magic Mile,” a track that holds so many memories and history for him and his family, appears where it does on this year’s schedule.

“[New Hampshire] was the first big track I ever raced on,” Truex said. “I got my first Busch North win there. It put me on the map and winning there a few times got me on the radar so I could drive for a living. It was a very important place for me and my career coming up through the ranks.

“The coolest part is my dad and brother and I have all won there. I’ve got a picture with my mom and brother sitting in the stands when my dad was practicing one year. I think it was 1994 – I was 14 and my brother was two.

“[The fans] you hear them yell ‘Go Mahtin!’ It’s fun. They are always excited. There’s only one race up there now, so they are always fired up and excited for a big weekend.”

New Hampshire’s 1.058-mile asphalt oval hosts NASCAR’s Cup Series stars for the 53rd time on Sunday, with the sport’s most distinctive trophy at stake – Loudon the Lobster. At least one driver already has his eye on New England’s favorite crustacean.

“I’m not afraid of lobsters, which is good,” Truex said. “It was very exciting to meet him last year, to say the least.”

For a NASCAR weekend schedule, visit

Log on to for tickets and more information on the weekend’s lineup of action-packed racing. Tickets for SIG SAUER Academy Dirt Duels start at just $25 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. Tickets for Doubleheader Saturday, featuring the SciAps 200 NXS race and the Mohegan Sun 100 NWMT race, start at just $49 for adults while kids 12 and under are free. Sunday’s USA TODAY 301 NASCAR Cup Series race tickets start at just $64 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. Further details can be found on the NHMS website or by calling 833-4LOUDON.

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About NASCAR Weekend at NHMS
New England’s only NASCAR weekend is June 21-23 at NHMS. On-track action kicks off Friday with practice and qualifying sessions for the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) and Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) plus SIG SAUER Academy Dirt Duels at The Flat Track. The action continues with NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) qualifying, the SciAps 200 NXS race and Mohegan Sun 100 NWMT race on Doubleheader Saturday and culminates with the NCS taking on “The Magic Mile” Sunday for the USA TODAY 301. Don’t miss all of the exciting off-track action including Trackside Live with Kenny Wallace and John Roberts, The Groove fan hangout, concerts from Dirty Deeds and Draw the Line, family movie night featuring “Guardians of the Galaxy,” driver appearances, a variety of live performances, fireworks and much more.