Why does Martin Truex Jr. rave about Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 season finale? For starters it’s been his best-performing racetrack in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
In nine starts at the 1.5-mile oval, the Furniture Row Racing driver has garnered three top-fives, seven top-10s and a finishing average of 9.2.
The 9.2 finishing average is by far his best among the Sprint Cup venues, more than three positions better than his second best finishing-average track – a 12.4 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
Since suffering a flat tire and a 32nd-place finish as a non-Cup regular in his first race at Homestead in 2004, Truex has had an impressive run at the South Florida track. In his next eight Homestead race, his worst finish was 11th in 2010. He was runner-up in 2006, his first full season in NASCAR's elite series.
In the last three Cup races at Homestead, Truex’s finishes were third (2011), sixth (2012) and fourth (2013).
“Homestead has been an awesome track for me,” said Truex. “If there’s a racetrack on the circuit that I feel owes me a win it’s probably Homestead. I’ve been close so many times and led plenty of laps. It’s just a great racetrack with that old gray asphalt and progressive banking. We can run all over it.
“We tested at Homestead a few weeks ago and it went well. We look forward to going there with the momentum we have and hopefully throw a little curveball into the Chase.”
Speaking of the Chase, since the playoffs began nine races ago, Truex’s No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet has shown a performance boost.
“We’ve had a top-five, a top-10 and some races close to a top-10 in the past nine races,” said Truex. “No question we made some gains and it’s a great feeling heading into 2015. We still have a ways to go, but a strong finish on Sunday would add to our offseason confidence level.”
Though he is not in the Chase, Truex said he is enjoying the new playoff format with four drivers – Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin -- in position to claim the 2014 Sprint Cup Series championship.
“Regarding the Chase, there's going to be a lot of nervous people,” noted Truex. “There's so much on the line. I think a lot of times we forget how big a Sprint Cup championship is. To put all the marbles on the table for one race is really exciting. At the end of the day there's going to be three unhappy drivers and one happy one. It's going to be pretty nerve-wracking on those four guys. There's been no lull in the Chase and seems like the fans are enjoying it. I know I have.”