Martin Truex Jr. couldn’t be happier about the race venue that will determine the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.
Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of Sunday’s final Chase race, has been Truex’s best performing track in NASCAR’s elite series. In 10 starts at the 1.5-mile oval, he has achieved three top fives, seven top 10s and an average finish of 10.0. His best finishes include a runner-up, third and fourth.
He also enters Sunday’s Ford 400 with the best driver rating at Homestead among the four finalists. The driver ratings for the four finalists at Homestead, tabulated by a NASCAR formula, are as follows: Truex (106.6), Kevin Harvick (102.5), Jeff Gordon (100.7) and Kyle Busch (91.5).
“Homestead is for all the marbles and I can't think of a better place I would want to compete at for the overall title,” said Truex, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet. “Not only has Homestead-Miami Speedway been my best track over the past 10 years, but the 1.5-mile tracks have also been strong for our team.”
The highest finishing driver among the four finalists in the 400-lap race will win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
"This is what you dream about as a kid -- the opportunity to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship,” said the 35-year-old Truex. “It's been an incredible year and I am so proud of all of our guys back at the shop in Denver and to our road crew for giving me fast cars week in and week out.”
Truex, who has been labeled the underdog because of Furniture Row Racing being a single car team feels the Denver, Colorado-based team has what it takes to bring the Sprint Cup trophy to the Mile High City.
“We're going into Homestead as the underdogs as we've been throughout the Chase,” noted Truex. “The competition is fierce and it's going to take basically a mistake-free race to accomplish the ultimate goal. I know we can do it and the team, led by (rookie) crew chief Cole Pearn, feels the same way."
The last time a driver won the NASCAR Cup title with a single-car team was Alan Kulwicki in 1992.
The only thing certain for Truex and Furniture Row Racing is that both will end the season with their best ranking. Truex, who can’t finish lower than fourth in the final standings, has never finished in the top 10. His best season finish was 11th in 2007 and 2012. The best season finish for Furniture Row Racing was 10th in 2013.
Facing the final-race pressure for a championship is nothing new for Truex. His second NASCAR Xfinity Series championship (2005) was captured at Homestead in the final race of the season.
“We’re confident that we can complete what has already been a successful season for our single-car team,” said Truex. “Going into the final race of the season with a shot of winning the championship is an awesome feeling.”
Truex's average finish in the first nine Chase races is 9.44. He’s had one top five and five top 10s in those nine races.