The statistics and performances bear out that Martin Truex Jr. has been competitive at all shapes and sizes of racetracks during the first 15 races of the current NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
Truex’s successful start includes one win, five top-fives, 14 top-10s and a second-place ranking in driver points. With his third-place result at the recent race in Michigan, he became the first driver to register 14 top-10s in the first 15 races since Richard Petty accomplished that feat in 1969.
Truex and his single-car Furniture Row Racing team will face a new challenge when the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sonoma Raceway in Northern California for Sunday’s 110-lap, Toyota/Save Mart 350, the first road race of the season.
"I enjoy road-course racing," said Truex, who will turn 35 on Monday (June 29). "When I started racing in go-karts it was on road courses and it's always been a nice change of pace for us to compete at the Sonoma and Watkins Glen road courses."
Looking at Truex's Sprint Cup history, it backs up his liking for the road-course races. Two years ago he won the Sonoma road race, which was his previous Cup win before capturing the victory at Pocono Raceway on June 7.
In nine Cup starts on the 11-turn, 1.99-mile Sonoma circuit, Truex has finished on the lead lap in all but one race (2010 he crashed), and in nine starts at the Watkins Glen road course in central New York, he finished on the lead lap in every race.
"I like Sonoma Raceway, especially when I won there two years ago," said Truex. “I like the track, it's fun, but it also can get crazy there. It's a place where you definitely need to be out front towards the end of the race. That's what you work for all day -- to put yourself in position strategy wise and fuel mileage wise.
"When those cautions at the end start coming out and if you're not in the front two rows the chances are you're going to get hit and knocked off the track. The chances go up with every row you move back from the first two. Last year we had an up and down day there (finished 15th). Hopefully we'll have something a little smoother this year like I had a two years ago."
When asked if he has any apprehension about taking his momentum to a road course, Truex said, "I think we learned a lot everywhere we went last year. That's a big part of the reason why we have been so much more successful this year. Sonoma was a place we didn't do that well last year and we're looking forward to going back there and turning the tables."