As the 2016 season heads into the homestretch, Martin Truex Jr. has only two thoughts in mind with four Sprint Cup Series races remaining.
“I want to go fast and I want to win,” said the Furniture Row Racing driver. “It doesn’t matter what’s at stake. It’s as simple as that. Having a car that has top speed and having the potential to win is what it’s all about.”
Though Truex got bumped from his Chase playoff run after his engine expired early in Sunday’s race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, the confidence level remains just as high as when he started the Chase, winning two of the three first-round races.
The 36-year-old Truex is looking to close out the season with successful runs starting with Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at the historic Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
And for the third time this season Truex’s primary paint scheme on his No. 78 Toyota Camry will be the blue hue of Auto-Owners Insurance.
“The last time I drove our Toyota with the Auto-Owners Insurance primary paint scheme, we went to Victory Lane, winning the Southern Nationals at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway,” noted Truex.
Truex is currently tied for most season wins at four, ranks second with most poles (4) and has led the most laps (1596).
“The sting of what happened in Talladega is behind us, we’re ready for the Martinsville short track,” said Truex. “I continue to feel that we’re a championship caliber team and want nothing more than to visit Victory Lane a few more times.”
When Truex talks about winning it’s not about being politically correct or being over confident. He sincerely feels the race cars he has driven this year have had the power to win week in and week out.
“When we don’t have gremlins, miscues and other weird things halting our momentum, we’re right up there contending for a win,” said Truex. “No question, it’s been a season of a number of twists and turns, but it’s also been one of the most enjoyable seasons in my Cup career.”
The good news for Truex about Martinsville is that he’s starting to feel more comfortable at the .526-mile short track.
“Early in my career Martinsville was nothing but a puzzle for me,” said Truex. “It was one of my least favorite racetracks. But over time, especially the most recent races there, things have started to change. I’ve been getting better there and our cars are better.”
Last year, Truex took home a pair of sixth-place finishes at Martinsville. And in this year’s spring race he was headed to a top-6 or better finish, but a late-race loose wheel coupled with a speeding penalty sent him back to an 18th-place finish.
In 21 career starts at Martinsville, Truex has claimed two top fives, six top 10s, 51 laps led, 16.5 starting average and a 21.2 finishing average.