A YEAR AGO, as the NASCAR Sprint Cup big-wheelers rolled into Dover, Del., Martin Truex Jr. was sitting on one career Cup victory: at Dover in 2007.
Truex and his Cup colleagues are back at Dover for Sunday's FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks race, and Truex still has only one win. The Mayetta, N.J., native is winless in 214 races.
While acknowledging it has been frustrating not to win more often, Truex, 32, tries to take a mature approach.
"For me it's just a matter of, 'OK, take the good things, take the bad things, analyze them all, try to figure out how you can do better next time,' " he said. "There's no sense in getting mad, upset or down about it. We have a job to do the next week. Turn your focus on, 'How can I do better next time? Is there something I did wrong, something I need to look at?'
"It's difficult to win at this level. Every week, there's 42 guys that are mad, there's only one guy that's happy. Your odds of winning races are pretty tough. It's not like normal sports, where it's one-on-one, you got a 50 percent chance of winning. It's a lot more difficult than that."
Even though Truex has gone 5-plus years without winning, his employer hasn't lost faith in his racing abilities.
"If we did our job on pit road, he would've won three races in the last 12 months," Ty Norris, executive vice president for business development and general manager of Michael Waltrip Racing, said Tuesday. "If you look at Martin Truex, there's a lot of speed there: He's competitive, he's running up front, he's winning poles.
"He's proven he's capable of winning, no matter what the record shows. When he's leading a race the last three laps, he can't help wondering what's going to happen. It's hard for him not to have those demons come up.
"Once he breaks through, a lot of people will tell you he'll win three or four. Maybe Dover will be the place for him [to finally win again]. He has probably grown as much off the track in the last 3 years he's been here as he ever did on the track. He's comfortable with who he is now."
Truex finished 11th in last year's Chase. He also was 11th in his previous Chase appearance, in 2007. Driving the No. 56 Toyota, Truex is ninth in points; his best finish this year was second at Texas.
Truex considers Dover his home track.
"The biggest thing about Dover is the banking and the speed, the way the corners drop off," he said. "It feels like when you go off of a corner, feels like you're falling off a building. You almost fall a whole story down into the corner. It's really just an awesome racetrack."
When Truex isn't racing or thinking about his sport, he follows the Eagles.
"It will be interesting to see how they do with a new coach and getting a different kind of game plan," he said. "He [Chip Kelly] was an awesome college coach. I think [he] will change how they [approach] the game and I think it will be fun to watch, so I'm looking forward to it."
The television rating for the Coca-Cola 600 telecast Sunday night on Fox was a 4.3 (7.1 million viewers), slightly down from last year's 4.4. The 600 outdistanced the 3.7 (5.7 million) for the Indianapolis 500 earlier on ABC. A year ago, Indy did a 4.3.
Drivers from Stewart-Haas Racing and Richard Childress Racing tested the Gen-6 cars at Pocono Raceway on Wednesday. Pocono hosts a 400-mile Sprint Cup race June 9.
After taking her first laps around the 2.5-mile tri-oval, SHR's Danica Patrick said, "It's a unique track. I feel like I have a long way to go to get really comfortable around here, and need to start working on the car. But I am really glad we're here, so I can get familiar with the place before it's time to go for real. I think this is the last track I haven't been to."