Decked out in a special bow tie fire suit for the occasion, Martin Truex Jr. will make his 500th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in Sunday’s Consumer’s Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Truex, 39, is in his 14th full-time Cup Series season and pilots the No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
This season, Truex has four wins (Richmond, Dover, Charlotte, Sonoma), nine top fives and 14 top 10s in his first year driving for the organization.
Truex qualified to start 15th Sunday in Michigan, but his No. 19 failed pre-race inspection twice and he now will start from the rear and lose a crew member for the infraction.
But it should be noted that Truex is the last Cup Series driver to win after starting from the rear. He did it earlier this year at Dover International Speedway.
Truex becomes the 42nd driver to hit the 500-start mark in the Monster Energy Series. His first career start came in 2004 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the No. 1 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
In only his second full time Monster Energy Series season, Truex got his first career win at Dover International Speedway in 2007, leading 216 laps.
Since then, Truex has gotten better with age, logging 22 more wins, 96 top fives and 19 poles. Twenty of those wins have come in the last four seasons.
Competing for Furniture Row Racing, Truex won the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship for team owner Barney Visser. FRR shut down after the 2018 season, and Truex moved to Joe Gibbs Racing.
In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Truex competed for parts of 10 years — two full time — with 103 starts and 13 wins.
Truex also ran in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East for four years, with 62 starts, five wins, 23 top fives, 32 top 10s and 13 poles.