Friday, May 29, 2015

Can Momentum Carry Truex Jr. to a Dover Win?

Truex speaks to the media, May 29, 2015
Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs
The racing stars seem to be aligning for Martin Truex, Jr. as he prepares for the FedEx 400 at Dover. After struggling last season, the team is posting noteworthy performances, including securing the outside pole for Sunday’s FedEx 400. Truex said one reason is that he and crew chief Cole Pearn are on the same page.

“I honestly think everything is working. We kind of approach things the same way and thinking about things the same way,” Truex said. “I’ve learned a lot from him already and feel like I’ve helped him some as well. It’s just been a good relationship that has provided a lot of success for both of us.”

In just the first one-third of 2015, Truex’s finishes and laps led are better than last year’s numbers for the whole season. He’s earned three top-five finishes and 11 top 10s – that’s 11 out of 12 races -- compared to last year’s stats of only one top five and five top 10s. After leading only a single lap last year, he’s racked up 258 laps since February and sits second in the Sprint Cup points standings.

The astronomically improved numbers speak for themselves, but the team’s missed opportunities to win after dominant performances at the last two points races – Kansas and Charlotte – could lead to frustration. Truex acknowledged the temptation to look at the downside, because those opportunities slipped away, but chose a positive outlook instead.

“You never know when your next opportunity is going to come. But at the same time, for us, to come from where we did last year to be in those positions to just to be running the way we are,” he said. “I think for us it’s important to not lose focus of what we have been able to accomplish so far, that this team is capable of, and to just try to keep learning and getting better.”

Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs
Leading 131 laps at Charlotte and finishing fifth isn’t bad for a track the driver considers one of his weakest venues. If he can do well there, the sky is the limit.

“Charlotte is one of my worst tracks. Last week, to lead the most laps and really again be the car to beat, it was an amazing feeling for me.”

On the other hand, Truex loves the Monster Mile, which the New Jersey native considers his home track.

“I like tracks where you have to drive the car hard. I don’t like to run 95 or 98 percent: I like to go all out. That kind of suits my style. That is part of the reason why I have always liked this place.”

His only win at Dover came in 2007, when he led 216 laps. He has seven career top 10s at the track but recent history is a good sign: top-10 finishes in both of last years’ races.

In light of his brilliant performances in the past few weeks, a front row starting position and a little home-track mojo, maybe this is the week Truex Jr. finds Victory Lane.


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