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Former longtime Stafford Township resident Ryan Truex climbs into his No. 11 Kaulig Racing car before practice Friday in Daytona Beach, Florida. FS1 will televise the Xfinity Series race at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Martin Truex Jr. spent Wednesday in Philadelphia, palling around with Gritty and watching the Flyers beat the Boston Bruins while promoting the upcoming Daytona 500.

He could be competing against his younger brother in that race.

Ryan Truex will try to qualify for the Feb. 17 event after landing a ride with Tommy Baldwin Racing. He will be driving the No. 71 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet Camaro.

“I am very thankful to TBR and Tommy Baldwin for this opportunity and can’t wait to get to Daytona and back in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car,” Truex said in a statement. “The pressure is on to make it into the race, but Tommy is a true racer, and I know he will put everything into the car to give us a great shot.”

Like Martin, Ryan Truex, 26, grew up in the Mayetta section of Stafford Township and attended Southern Regional High School before moving to the NASCAR hotbed of Charlotte, North Carolina, to further his racing career.

He had 26 Cup starts in 2013-14 with a career-best 20th place finish at Pocono Raceway in August of 2014. He spent last season as a full-time driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Kaulig Racing and placed 12th in the series standings.

“I’m excited to have Ryan back in a Tommy Baldwin Racing car,” team owner Tommy Baldwin said in a statement. “We had success at Daytona in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in the past. I’ve known the Truex family a very long time, and it’s special that we’ll be able to compete in The Daytona 500 together, and hopefully more races as the year goes on.”

This will mark Ryan Truex’s second attempt to qualify for Daytona. He came up short in 2014 with BK Racing.

This year’s qualifying schedule starts Feb. 10 with pole qualifying and continues Feb. 14 with the Duel at Daytona races. He’ll try to earn one of the 40 spots in the field for the 61st annual race.

“It’ll be a character-building week for sure in Daytona,” Truex tweeted Wednesday. “Trying to make the 500 is 10/10 stressful but looking forward to the challenge.”

Martin Truex Jr., 38, will be driving the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry for the first time this year. He spent the previous five seasons with Denver-based Furniture Rowing Racing, which ceased operations after the 2018 season. He won 17 races in Furniture Row’s No. 78, including the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship in 2017.

The Daytona 500 is one of the few events he has yet to win. He came excruciatingly close in 2016, finishing second to Denny Hamlin by one-hundredth of a second in the closest finish in that race’s history.

Martin Truex Jr. spent Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center where he received a No. 19 Flyers jersey from Gritty and saw the Flyers beat the Bruins 4-3.

Truex is an avid Philadelphia sports fan. He attended Super Bowl LII in Minnesota and saw the Eagles beat New England 41-33.

“Everyone I grew up around are Philly fans in general,” he told NBC Sports Network on Wednesday. “My dad; aunts and uncles. I was born into it. It’s been fun.”

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Contact: 609-272-7201 DWeinberg@pressofac.com Twitter @PressACWeinberg

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