LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Winning a NASCAR Nationwide race at Dover International Speedway would be so sweet for Ryan Truex, with dozens of family and friends in the stands at the nearby Delaware racetrack.
The Stafford Township native came maddeningly close in June, leading for 43 laps before getting stuck in lapped traffic with six to go and finishing second.
He'll get another chance today. Pole qualifying is at noon (TV: Speed) with the race at 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2).
"I'm excited," Truex, 20, said Thursday at the charity golf tournament of his brother, Martin Jr., at Sea Oaks Golf Club. "I kind of have a chip on my shoulder going back. I know what I should have had last time I was there."
Martin Jr. knows what it's like to win at Dover. The only win of his Sprint Cup career was there in 2007. But he's come close several times this season and is part of the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the Championship. He's 10th in the standings after a 17th-place finish last week in Loudon, N.H. Sunday's race at Dover will be the third of the Chase.
"I love Dover. It's a great race track and obviously a track where I know how to win," Martin Jr., who was unavailable for comment at the golf tournament, said in quotes provided this week by his team, Michael Waltrip Racing. "In the spring race, we had a good run with a top-10 finish. We'll go in there this weekend and hopefully, gain some ground we lost last week with a win."
The Truex brothers, both of whom live in North Carolina, got to spend some time this week in the area where they grew up.
Ryan arrived back in Mayetta last Saturday and spent the week hanging out with friends - and working on his golf swing in preparation for his brother's tournament.
"I'm not very good at (golf)," he said with a laugh. "I'm better than when I started, though."
Martin, in addition to the golf tournament, toured the construction site Wednesday for the new Martin Truex Jr. Pediatric Unit at Southern Ocean Medical Center.
After the golf tournament, both brothers got on a plane to Dover, where they had practice Friday.
Ryan was excited to get back on a track where he has had success. He clinched the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East titles there in both 2009 and 2010.
Ryan won't drive for Joe Gibbs Racing, his usual team, this weekend. Instead, he'll drive for RAB Racing, a team whose cars he has driven in two other races this year.
"They've got good cars," he said. "Scott Zipadelli, the crew chief, me and him get along really well. He understands me. He's a racer. And he really understands me and really knows what I need in a racecar."
Ryan's paint scheme will look familiar to anyone who has followed Martin Jr.'s career since the beginning. The No. 99 car will bear the logo of their father's commercial fishing company, SeaWatch International, which sponsored Martin Jr. early in his Nationwide career.
"I've never ran a car with SeaWatch on it before, except a Legend car," Ryan said. "So it's cool to kind of get in the paint scheme that my brother used to run there once in a while. It's the same exact paint scheme that Martin had, minus the (Dale Earnhardt Inc.) stripes."
Martin Jr., meanwhile, will wear a helmet with a Philadelphia Eagles design. He will spend time before Sunday's race with former Eagle Brian Dawkins, who will serve as the grand marshal. Immediately following the race, Truex will head to Philadelphia for the Eagles' game against the New York Giants, where Dawkins' No. 20 will be retired.
"I'm sure Dawkins could lift our (car) without a jack," Martin Truex said. "I'm looking forward to the (race) and hanging out with a guy that I have actually been a fan of. … I hope (the helmet) will give me luck."
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