Throughout the history of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, there are numerous examples of a driver dominating at a certain track or type of track.
What is unique about what we’ve seen at the mile-and-a-half speedways this year is that the dominant driver seemed destined for a career as an also-ran for nearly a decade.
Martin Truex Jr. has been nothing short of phenomenal on such tracks in 2017. The driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota scored his sixth win of the season this past weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Of those, five have come on 1.5-mile ovals.
Everyone gets in a groove now and then, but Truex is a guy who finished his first 10 full-time years on the premier NASCAR tour with only three wins. He had that many by the end of July this year.
Personally, I believe Truex put a lot of effort into winning at Charlotte simply because he lost the top spot in the Power Rankings last week. That kind of defeat doesn’t sit well with him and he did his best to impress our contributors enough to regain the number one slot. Who sits behind him heading into an unpredictable race at Talladega? Take a look!
How the Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football. Our expert stable of NASCAR writers, both on staff and from other major publications, will vote for the top 10 on a 10-9-8-7… 3-2-1 basis, giving 10 points to their first-place driver, nine for second and so on. In the end, Frank Velat calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners and… here you go!
He won’t have to worry about Talladega this year. Not that he was all that worried before winning Charlotte… – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch
First-Place Votes: 5
Larson looks like he’s finally getting the hang of these mile-and-a-half tracks, which is going to be bad news for the rest of the playoff contenders. – Pete McCole, Auto Racing 1
It’s only fair that Kyle’s car gave him a headache. It had given the rest of the field a major one for two straight weeks. – Frank Velat, Frontstretch
Two runner-up finishes in a row show that Elliott and his No. 24 team may be Rick Hendrick’s best shot at a title in 2017. – Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish
He’s been ultra consistent… consistently slower than Truex and Busch. – Michael Massie, Frontstretch
Somehow, I don’t think the slogan “Think outside the box” will be used as motivational material around the Hendrick shop this week. – Velat
The only shot his team has at beating the Toyotas is for Team Penske to start bringing its open-wheel cars to the track. – Massie
You know you had a good day when you pass the Toyotas without them having a problem. – Massie
As long as Kenseth and his team survive Talladega, they’ll be ready to rock at Kansas. – Tiongson
Charlotte was McMurray’s first top five since June. Has the No. 1 team come to life in just the nick of time? – Gable