Based on history the next seven races should be good news for Martin Truex Jr., who has suffered through a difficult stretch where issues not related to performance have plagued the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion.
In three of the past four races Truex was involved in accidents -- at Texas, Bristol and Talladega. He also had a pit-stop issue late in the Richmond race that took him out of contention for the win. His finishes of 37th (Texas), 30th (Bristol), 14th (Richmond) and 26th (Talladega) dropped him from second to ninth in the driver point standings.
But there appears to be a silver lining for the Mayetta, N.J. native. The upcoming seven-race stretch, starting with Sunday’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover, are at venues where Truex has scored 10 of his 16 career Cup wins.
Along with Dover, the seven venues include: Kansas, Charlotte, Pocono, Michigan, Sonoma and Chicagoland. Truex has a pair of victories at Dover, Kansas, Charlotte and Chicago and single wins at Pocono and Sonoma. The only track of the next seven races he has not won at is Michigan, where he was in position to win both races last year.
“The upcoming seven tracks have been good to us and we obviously would like to get some wins during this stretch,” said Truex, who has one win this season (at Fontana, Calif.). “We’ve had a rough few weeks - not from a performance standpoint but from a finishing standpoint. We need to make up some points.
“I know we’re capable of winning any of the next seven races, but a couple of wins is a realistic goal. Michigan for sure is one place that we should have won by now, just haven’t been able to put the finishes together at the end of the race.”
Though the next seven races look appealing, Truex is not looking past Sunday where he returns to his home track, driving the No. 78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry.
“Dover is a beast,” the Furniture Row Racing driver emphatically stated. “It will eat you up if you’re not on your game and not in attack mode all the time. It really tests your skills, and every part of your skill set is used there.”
Truex, who claimed his first career Cup win at Dover (June 4, 2007) welcomes the difficulties of the Monster Mile and says he has a comfort zone with the all-concrete, high-banked oval.
“I just like the racetrack a lot,” Truex said. “The first time I went there I fell in love with the place. Enjoy the challenge of it – it is so different than anywhere else we go. I feel if you like it you have an advantage. It’s been good to me over the years and I enjoy going there. The banking, the concrete, the surface and the way you land in the corners there -- it’s just crazy.”
Truex has seven top-10 finishes in the last eight races at Dover and has posted top fives in the last three races. His most recent victory at Dover was October 2016.
His career record at Dover includes 24 starts, two wins, four top fives, 13 top 10s, three poles and 745 laps led. His average start is 11.6 and average finish 13.3.