Martin Truex, Jr.’s fourth win of the season this year isn’t all that surprising when you look at the amount of laps he has led this year, but is surprising when you look at his win totals throughout his career. Prior to 2016, Truex had never won more than one race in one whole season. He had never won races in consecutive years prior to 2015 to 2016 and it looked like Martin was oftentimes just a one-hit wonder from season to season.
Now, in 2016, Truex has four victories with Furniture Row Racing, winning two of the three races in the Round of 16 – the opening round of the Chase. While no one is surprised anymore when this team makes it to Victory Lane, looking at the sum of Truex’s career shows that this certainly hasn’t been a cake walk for this team or this driver.
“I can remember going home on days really frustrated,” Truex said after his win Sunday in Dover. “Here for example. Running upfront to have something happen and watch Jimmie (Johnson) win 10 of them and it’s like, man, that’s got to be unbelievable winning that many races in a year or that many races period. And, I mean that last month, month and a half has been ridiculous. It’s been a fairytale dream and all of the credit goes to all these guys.”
Truex didn’t have to win on Sunday. His win at Chicagoland Speedway a couple weeks prior had ensured that he would be in the Round of 12, regardless of his finishes at Loudon or Dover. However, Truex has enjoyed a season filled with championship caliber runs and multiple race wins.
“We’re not messing around I guess,” Truex continued. “I don’t know — what else can you say? We are here to get it done and golly I’m telling you just the best bunch of guys you could ever ask for. It’s just amazing to drive their race cars and do what we were able to do. I’m just ecstatic. So many people to thank again. I mean, this is just unbelievable. Especially here I love this race track. It’s been considered a home track for me for a long time. It’s been since ’07 since I won here.”
Last year, Truex made it all the way to the Championship 4, earning his first top-five points finish in his career. This year, it will be surprising if he isn’t able to do the same thing. The next two races are Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway. Truex put a hurting on the field in the Coca-Cola 600 earlier this season, and Kansas Speedway has been kind to him as well. The No. 78 team could easily win the next two races, allowing them to further cement their championship hopes.
“I feel great. I think we can go win the next two and not have to worry about Talladega because you never know,” said Truex. “You’ve got to take it one week at a time. These races are difficult. You never know what’s going to happen. We seen with the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) today, one speeding penalty took him out of it and he had a really strong car. I felt like we were real equal and whoever was out front was going to be the guy to beat. Fortunately, we just crossed all the T’s and dotted all the I’s and we had a race car and took care of it and did all the right things today.”
Truex has gone from mid-pack driver, to underdog, to championship contender in just a few short years. At this point, it feels like nothing can slow this team down.
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